What do you need to know before taking a Pilates Reformer class?

What do you need to know before taking a Pilates Reformer class?

The Pilates Reformer was developed by Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates exercise system. The Reformer is a bed-like frame — the carriage — that includes a footbar, resistance springs, and straps. The springs provide you with a choice of differing levels of resistance. The majority of Reformer exercises involve pushing or pulling the carriage or keeping it steady during an exercise as you pull on it by using the springs.   The parts of the Reformer can be adjusted for different body sizes and skill levels.

Pilates Reformer classes are great for all levels of experience, but, if you’re a beginner to Pilates and are considering taking Reformer classes, there are some things you should be aware of before embarking on your first class.

A Reformer’s class isn’t a mat class.  All of your exercises will be done on the Reformer, the biggest difference between a mat class vs a Reformer class being the addition of resistance to your exercises. Therefore, you should expect to be doing a more intense workout than if you were taking a mat class.

You’ll need to wear socks with rubber grips on the bottom to prevent your feet from slipping because the carriage moves.  Also, it’s better to wear tighter-fitting clothes because your body will be moving in all sorts of different positions; looser fitting clothes will tend to ride up.

It’s very important that you listen to your instructor and follow his or her directions. At your first class the instructor will explain the machine and the function of all of its different parts, most importantly the springs which provide the resistance.  Your instructor will let you know what resistance level, or spring, you should be using as you’re going through the exercises.

Be prepared to work every muscle during a Reformers workout!  Your core muscles, including your abs, lower back, and pelvis will be used. Additionally, a lot of the smaller, less commonly used muscles in your body, including your wrists, are going to get a workout as well.  If they start to bother you, take a quick break, shake them out, and keep going!

The benefits

The Reformers provides you will all of the benefits of Pilates including improvements to your overall strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance.  But, because the Reformer adds increased resistance to the exercise vs mat exercises, it increases your overall fitness level including:

  • Increased muscular endurance
  • Increased core strength
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improvements to your posture, breathing, and coordination
  • Movement of your body through a full range of motion
  • More thorough workout of your arms and legs
  • Faster results from your workouts

The best way to learn Pilates Reformer exercises

While you can do Reformers exercises at home on your own piece of equipment, the best way to learn Pilates reformers is by taking a class or through private instructions with an experienced, licensed instructor.

At Propel Pilates and Fitness, located in Rancho Bernardo, our group Reformer classes are small, limited to 2-7 students for more personalized instruction. We also offer private and semi-private sessions in addition to our group classes. Visit our website to view our class schedule.