THERE IS A COMMON misconception that Pilates exercises are only done on a mat. Although the original exercises developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s were done using the body, the need for more support to facilitate better muscle connections led to the development of unique, spring-based equipment.

What is a reformer? The Pilates reformer is the key piece of equipment used in any Pilates practice. This functional unit allows the client to work in a lying down, sitting, standing, or kneeling position, making it one of the most functional total body workouts available.

At first sight, the equipment often appears intimidating, but one try and clients are hooked by this smooth moving and gentle, yet effective method of training. 

“When I began my reformer Pilates for the first time in my life, I learned how to isolate specific muscles and make them work,” says Niagara resident Renee S. “I never knew that my weak core muscles failed to kick in when needed until I learned how to tap into them and make them work. I owe this all to Reformer Pilates.” 

Working on a reformer allows clients to engage their core while continuing to provide resistance for arm and leg muscles. Alignment and posture are always a focus in any Pilates program and the reformer provides feedback that enhances these essential components of a good core workout. 

So how do I get started? Due to the specific nature of the equipment and the vast repertoire of exercises available, Pilates Reformer training should always be initiated under the careful supervision of a trained teacher. Training with a teacher will ensure your body is positioned correctly, that you have made effective muscle connections, and that you are completing the exercises safely for maximum results. Working one-on-one or in a small group will allow a program to be tailored to meet your needs and goals. 

“Thinking I was in good shape, I started on the Pilates reformer to change my workout routine,” says Maria O., a Reformer client for the past 10 years. “The resistance from the springs and pulleys shame as it was far more challenging and difficult to achieve the correct balance. My abs certainly weren’t at their strongest, but the weekly reformer training has strengthened them considerably. Another bonus of the reformer is there are so many attachments to help modify or intensify all the movements. Assist and resist with the reformer to help your body be the best it can be!”