Reformer pilates is a full-body workout that builds long, lean muscles without bulk, improves posture, and increases flexibility. It’s also a great way to get a boost in your mood, as studies continue to show that Pilates can decrease stress hormones and increase “feel good” chemicals like endorphins.
The Pilates studio is more than just an exercise space—it’s a supportive community that helps you feel and achieve your best self, both physically and mentally. According to Gordon, the instructors at a Reformer studio are always looking for ways to help their students succeed and will work with you as you navigate your fitness journey. She notes that Pilates is often considered a safer form of exercise for women because it requires less impact than other forms of fitness and is more mindful in nature, which can have a positive impact on mental health.
One of the main benefits of Reformer Pilates is the strengthening of your core and pelvic floor muscles, which can reduce your risk of back pain as you age. Reformer pilates classes can also increase your postural awareness, which can reduce the amount of strain you place on your back during daily activities, such as getting into your car or bending down to tie your shoes.
If you’re new to the Pilates studio, Bianca Melas of Alo Moves recommends starting with a private session or a beginner group class to familiarize yourself with the reformer before jumping into a larger group class that moves quickly. She says that the equipment can feel intimidating for someone new, but that with a teacher who’s patient and supportive and a beginner class to help you get comfortable, you can become confident in no time.
A typical reformer is a flat, cushioned moving carriage with shoulder blocks for comfort and stability. It usually has a front platform that hides springs to adjust resistance and a back platform that houses shorter straps with handles for more Pilates variations. It may also have a moveable bar for other exercise modifications.
The Pilates reformer is a safe and effective exercise for all ages, fitness levels, and body types. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as those with injuries or who are pregnant. It’s important to tell your instructor about any limitations you have before beginning a class, so she can help you modify the exercise as needed or suggest alternatives to make the workout more challenging or accessible. You should also be aware that reformer exercises can cause soreness, similar to other types of exercise, but you can alleviate the discomfort by taking a warm up on the mat, stretching between reformer classes, going for a walk or soaking in the tub. The good news is that this soreness will fade as your muscles strengthen and become more resilient.