The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Pilates Instructor

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A Quick Glimpse at the Best Pilates Reformers on the Market

So, you’ve decided to add Pilates to your personal fitness repertoire, huh?

Hey, we don’t blame you. In case you didn’t know, we’re team Pilates. With its seriously vast health benefits and easily-adaptable exercises, we honestly believe that Pilates is an excellent exercise for any of your clients—no matter what their goals are.

If you’re new to the Pilates conversation, first things first, welcome—we’re glad you’re here. Secondly, if you need a little Pilates breakdown, check out our Pilates 101 go-to guide that takes a look at where Pilates came from, what its benefits are, and more. Give that guide a little once over and then come right back to us here.

Read it? Excellent. Now that you’re a Pilates expert, you know it’s time to invest in some seriously great Pilates gear—especially in the pinnacle of Pilates pieces, the Reformer.

With Pilates, there’s plenty of gear out there to choose from. In a lot of ways, having tons of options for the right kind of gear is excellent, but it presents a problem, too—total overwhelm. With everything that exists out there, with all the thousands of Pilates brands, and with each touting the different advantages and benefits they have over the other, how can you possibly pick the perfect Pilates Reformer?

That’s why we’re here to help.

We’ve laid out a few of the best Pilates Reformer picks for 2020 to help guide you through the purchase process. We’ll talk about prices, pros, and even some cons, too! Read on!

Remind Me One More Time—What’s a Reformer?

A quick refresh for the newbies out there, a Pilates reformer is an exercise machine used specifically in the practice of Pilates. It’s like a game-changer to intensify the workout and provide your Pilates exercise with more resistance, a bigger challenge, and a larger emphasis on technique.

A Reformer uses springs, leverage, and a person’s body weight to target specific muscle groups and can be used in a variety of different ways to help enhance the Pilates exercise. Essentially, a Pilates reformer helps to improve posture, increase flexibility, enhance core strength, and boost muscular endurance.

The key thing to remember about Pilates reformers is that, like most gear, not all of them are created equally.

The prices and quality of these machines range substantially. Translation? You can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars, all depending on the machine you choose.

Our best advice? Before you start shopping for Pilates machines, do some digging and market research, estimate how many clients you plan to have work with you in the Pilates fitness realm, and consider how important quality is. Understanding your needs before you start shopping will make the process a lot more decisive.

The Best Pilates Reformer Machines of 2020

Spoiler alert before we begin this little breakdown—these are not the only Pilates reformer machines out there. In fact, there are thousands upon thousands of brands selling reformers, and all of them bring something unique to the table. Don’t let that intimidate you!

At the end of the day, what matters most is that you’re choosing a quality reformer that will endure use, function properly, and most importantly, keep your clients safe!

Since you’re already a step ahead of the game and have put serious thought into what matters to you in a Pilates reformer machine, you already know (at least to a degree) what you’re looking for.

Check out a few of these prime options!

Balanced Body Studio Reformer

This reformer is like, a next-level option. It’s secure, comfortable, and incredibly safe—all while being a prime machine that offers all sorts of resistance for clients of every level. It’s definitely one of the pricier options (coming up at just over $3,000), but if you’re sincerely invested in making Pilates a key service you offer, it’s likely worth looking into.

On the plus side: It’s a long reformer that’s a good size for almost all clients. It’s incredibly secure, comfort is on-point, and it’s super adjustable.

But then again: It is dang pricey. And further, it’s not designed to move around easily—if you buy this one, it needs a dedicated spot in your studio where you won’t need to worry about maneuvering it.

Stamina AeroPilates Pro XP 557

A mid-level priced reformer, this light and stylish reformer is perfect for a trainer who’s looking to seek out clients who are moderately experienced in Pilates. At just over $1,000, this reformer can offer you the safety, proper function, and resistance you’re looking for in a reformer without breaking the bank.

On the plus side: This reformer has high-density shoulder pads to make your workout comfortable, and the long aluminum rails work perfectly.

But then again: This reformer isn’t exactly comfortable in all the ways it could be. There’s nothing to hold the hands in place, the foot bar is not padded, and the headrest does not include cushions.

Balanced Body Pilates IQ Reformer

This reformer is all about offering you the professional level features you’re looking to give your clients without taking all of your money at once. This reformer is mid-tier when it comes to pricing, super easy to store (and you can even store it upright), has a set of wheels to make maneuvering a breeze, and is simple to set up. At just under $2,000, it’s a pretty good deal for trainers who are serious about including Pilates in their offerings.

On the plus side: This offers all the benefits of a professional reformer, has plenty of resistance, and is so simple to move and store.

But then again: It’s a bit pricier than other options, it doesn’t come with its own stand, and, to be honest, it’s a little bit heavy.

AeroPilates Premier Reformer

This reformer is all about the basics—you won’t find any fancy add-ons, functions, or options, but if you’re looking for a simple machine that’s easy to move around, this one is a great option. Just under $250, this reformer is great for beginner clients who are just starting out on their Pilates journey with you.

On the plus side: This reformer is cheap, folds up seamlessly (great for storage), and is a perfectly functional entry-level machine that covers the basics of Pilates reformers.

But then again: But, here’s the thing—it’s basic. Your more experienced Pilates clients aren’t going to get much use out of this (there’s not a ton of resistance options), and the glide has been reviewed as less than smooth.

Beverly Hills Fitness Supreme Toning Tower

This bad boy is well, we’ll just say it—the budget option. At just under $300, it’s hard to top the price of this Pilates machine. Though it’s not technically the same style reformer as the others, it’s going to deliver similar exercise movement options and provide the resistance you’re looking to give your clients.

On the plus side: This toning tower is going to arrive at your door fully assembled (we love the ease and convenience here), it’s super lightweight, and it comes with additional coils to help really tack on extra resistance (to help your clients get even stronger, yay!). Plus, it’s very, very affordable, so if you’re looking for a very low barrier to entry with Pilates (financially speaking), this might be a great option to test it out.

But then again: But here’s the downside, it’s pretty cheap. Because it’s not a full-on reformer, you’re not truly getting the entire Pilates experience. Plus, even though it’s lightweight, it can be a pain to move every single day.

We’ve done our part, now it’s time for the real challenge—choosing which Pilates reformer machine is best for you! Remember, these are just a few of the options out there, but they’re ones we believe to be quality choices that span all levels of needs. Don’t be afraid to do a little more digging if you’re not convinced that these Pilates reformers are the ones for you!

Have a Pilates reformer suggestion for your fellow personal trainers and fitness experts? Let us know! Drop a line in our comment section below to share your recommendations and reviews with the community.

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Meet The Author:

Parker Franklin

Parker, IFG’s Brand Manager since 2022, began his wellness journey in 2020, leading to a significant personal transformation. He holds a journalism degree from Murray State University and started his career as an award-winning journalist in western Kentucky before transitioning into marketing and PR. At IFG, Parker is responsible for writing content, managing The Fit newsletter, and overseeing promotions and collaborations with affiliate fitness organizations.