Reformer Pilates: What to expect

Looking to try something new and spice up your workouts with Reformer Pilates? If you’ve never done it before, you’re probably thinking, “What is it? How is it different to regular Pilates?”. We’ll answer these and more to help you decide whether a Reformer Pilates workout is right for you.

What is Reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates offers a full-body workout that aims to shape and tone your muscles, whilst still concentrating on activating and strengthening your core. Like regular Pilates, it also focuses on breathing and balance. It’s a fun, intense, and unique workout that relies on spring-based resistance and your body weight to target the entire body, helping you build strength and flexibility. 

While many workouts focus on big, exaggerated motions, Pilates utilises targeted movements that challenge smaller muscle groups. It’s these restricted, highly focused motions that work and tone small muscles. 

What’s the difference between mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates? 

It’s a bit of a “same-same-but-different” scenario. Both forms of Pilates have overlapping benefits and movements. The main difference is that Reformer Pilates is completed on a piece of specialised equipment called a Reformer bed. Here, you’re lying down for most of the class. But, don’t let the word “bed” fool you! Reformer Pilates is certainly no Sunday nap… 

Instead, Reformer offers an increase in the repertoire of exercises and degree of difficulty, thanks to the varying levels of resistance the Reformer bed offers. So, although the basic movements are the same, the Reformer bed, straps and springs add many layers to your workout. 

More on the Reformer bed.  

As we mentioned before, the Pilates reformer is a bed-like machine. The machine has a flat, cushioned platform called a “carriage”, and that carriage rolls back and forth on wheels. When the carriage moves, you do too. Springs are attached to the carriage to add resistance to the workout and make it more (or less) challenging.  

At the spring-end of the machine, there’s also an adjustable foot bar. Although it’s called a foot bar, it can be used by hands as well depending on the movements. There are also handles and straps attached to the top end of the machine.  

Reformer Pilates really is suitable for all skill levels and body types because basically all elements of the Reformer bed can be adjusted and moved. This means you can alter the movements to your personal comfort and fitness level.  

What to expect at your Reformer Pilates class. 

Expect some (or all) of these positions.  

The Reformer bed is a highly versatile piece of equipment. Even though we refer to the machine as a “bed”, you won’t just be lying down. A variety of exercises can be performed using a range of positions. Some of these include: 

. Lying. 

. Sitting. 

. Standing. 

. Perched on the foot bar. 

. Pushing the foot bar. 

. Perched on the shoulder  blocks. 

The Reformer machine can also be paired with additional equipment (for example, light dumbbells) for even more possibilities. The range of movements means no two Reformer Pilates workouts are the same, muscles are always challenged, and classes are never boring! 

Expect to feel a little uncoordinated. 

This isn’t true for everyone, but many people feel a bit awkward at their first class — this is normal and your coordination will pick up very quickly, usually by the end of that first class. This is simply because you’re using a new piece of equipment. Lying on your back and moving horizontally feels particularly unnatural and can take some getting used to. 

Don’t worry, no one will be watching you — everyone is focused on their own workout! 

Our advice? Start slow, move with caution, and progress at your own pace. Go easy on the resistance as you learn how the machine works, and build this up as you feel more comfortable. When in doubt, ask for more support or guidance — that’s what the instructor is there for! 

Expect this at Sista Fitness. 

At your first Sista Fitness Reformer Pilates class, you can expect to feel welcomed! Our instructor/s will introduce themselves and help you feel comfortable and settled. We’ll teach you how to safely use a Reformer bed, guide you through the workout, and offer modifications based on your comfort and fitness level.  

You’ll be hooked! 

Ready to leap into the world of Reformer? Try it today at Sista Fitness — check out our Reformer Pilates pricing here