Most common Reformer Pilates questions answered

Posted June 28th, 2022

Unless you’ve tried a Reformer Pilates class, most people don’t know what it is and why it’s great for your body. Since opening The Reformer Room we’ve had lots of questions about Reformer so we’ve put together answers to the most common questions we’ve been asked. Learn how it’s different from mat Pilates, how it can help alleviate back pain, improve cardio fitness and more.

Your Top 6 Questions Answered:

‘What is Reformer?’

Originally and most commonly, the reformer carriage, is used for Pilates – however most people know what to expect from a Pilates class but not so much about Reformer. The carriage / bed and moving parts use springs and ropes for assistance and resistance whilst supporting you to achieve maximum potential for muscle length and strength.

The springs allow you to adjust resistance to the carriage, which will be pushed and pulled along the frame by your own body weight and strength. Depending on abilities, injuries, or first-time sessions to advanced – classes are adapted to personalise and benefit from the workout.

“How and why is reformer different to Mat Pilates?”

Whilst having experience in Mat Pilates may feel beneficial to starting out Reformer, it is not completely necessary (don’t let the fact you haven’t tried Pilates before put you off trying reformer!) And whilst you can perform the same series of exercises on the Reformer that you can on the mat, the workouts are notably different. Mat classes utilise the body weight for exercises, while the Reformer adds resistance to the Pilates exercises via the use of the springs and movement on the carriage that help assist the body into proper form. There are options of performing exercises in lots of different body positions, from your back, side, stomach, being seated and also on your feet or knees all whilst maintaining your correct posture.

‘I am injured, is reformer good for me?’

Both the equipment and exercises can be modified and adjusted to anybody, which makes it perfect for those who are looking for rehab from an injury, improve flexibility, train for a particular hobby or sport, or simply for those looking for a low impact, full body workout.

Adaptable for all fitness levels, Reformer helps to improve overall body alignment focusing on core strength and proper muscle engagement which improves athletic performance, helps reduce back pain, promotes injury recovery, supports weight loss, and improves balance, bone density and posture to name a few. It is a movement system designed to better our everyday life and wellbeing.

Testimonial from Naledi Knight :

“I had severe back pain which was caused as a result of lifting my child and carrying her on my hip. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t sit or stand for long periods of time. 

I was referred by my GP for physiotherapy which was not helping, and they recommended I have a couple of Pilates Reformer sessions.

I was very sceptical as if physio couldn’t fix me, I didn’t see how Reformer could help. How wrong I was!  My back improved after only one session and after my second session my back was completely back to normal.  I am a firm believer in taking Reformer classes for both  aiding injury and for prevention.  If you have any doubts, just give it a go and see for yourself”

“How does reformer help with back pain”

When first using the Reformer it is important to make your teacher aware of any outstanding injuries or pain you may be struggling with. If suffering from back pain, Reformer comes highly recommended by physios as with the assistance of the machine, you are able to strengthen the core muscles that provide support for the back, teach proper body alignments and provide gentle stretches to relax tight back muscles. It is important not to restrict your movement too much when experiencing back pain. 

“How can Reformer Pilates help improve cardio fitness?

Different classes will depend how much of a ‘cardio’ workout you will receive in your Reformer session. Similar to a HIIT workout, the dynamic class will get your heart raised quicker. However Reformer is widely known for sculpting and toning muscles, helping to improve body shape and mobility within slower/controlled movements which overall aids to improve cardio fitness.

‘What can I expect in a class?”

The focus of Reformer workouts is to make sure you are evenly displaced whilst creating full body alignment, flexibility, strength, and mobility throughout the entire body.

You should wear comfortable active workout wear, note that you don’t wear shoes in Reformer and you can wear regular socks but if you are coming regularly we recommend investing in some grip socks! (These can be purchased from lots of online retailers, yoga and sports shops or at our reception).

After an introduction and demonstration of the Reformer beds, our instructors will ask about any injuries or restrictions to movements you may have. Our studio homes 5 beds, allowing the instructor to adapt and correct any movements when necessary, creating a personalised workout within a class environment.

Take a look at our website to read brief description on the different classes we are currently running and an introduction to our lovely teachers!