The Incredible Pilates Reformer: What Every Instructor Should Know

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A Pilates Reformer is a bed-like frame with a moving carriage and adjustable resistance that can elevate any workout routine. It’s perfect for all skill levels, enhancing muscle strength, core stability, and posture. While mat Pilates is beneficial, the Reformer offers a more dynamic and rewarding challenge. As an instructor, ensure your clients use proper gear, focus on form over quantity, and stay mindful during sessions. Embrace the Reformer to transform your Pilates classes and help clients achieve their fitness goals.

Let’s Talk Basics—What is a Pilates Reformer?

We can’t explain how a Pilates Reformer can benefit your Pilates classes if we don’t give you the skinny on what exactly a Pilates Reformer is in the first place.

A Reformer is a bed-like frame that has a flat platform on it that rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame. The carriage is attached to one part of the reformer by a set of springs that are able to provide your client with different levels of resistance to push or pull the carriage along the frame. The Reformer also has shoulder blocks on it that keep the client using it from sliding off the end of the machine as they use it. A foot bar is also included on the Reformer where clients can use their feet and hands to push and pull along the carriage. There are plenty of other attachments, too, that can be added to the reformer—such as long straps with handles and other resistance tools—that can provide even more functionality.

The best part about Pilates Reformers is that they’re generally a one-size-fits-all machine that adjusts easily for different body sizes and different skill levels, which means that mostly anyone can use it in a variety of ways.

Pilates Reformers are used to lengthen and strengthen muscles, emphasize core exercise, and most importantly, keep posture at the forefront.

How Do You Use a Pilates Reformer?

Like we said before, Pilates Reformers are wildly versatile—they are can be used standing up, sitting down, pulling straps, pushing the foot bar, perched on the shoulder blocks, with additional equipment, sideways, backward, upside-down, and so much more.

Seriously, the list goes on and on (and on).

Reformers are dynamic machines that don’t serve a single purpose—whether you’re looking for a total body workout or for an exercise to zero in on a specific muscle, using the Reformer can be just the ticket you’re looking for. And like we mentioned already, skill level doesn’t matter—whether you’ve got the most advanced Pilates client on your books or a client who’s just now dipping their toes into the Pilates pool, the Reformer is an easy-to-use, adaptable solution to accomplish any goal you need.

Pilates Reformer Benefits & Quick Pilates Facts

You might be wondering, “if Pilates can be done on a mat, what’s the point of a reformer?”

You’re totally right. Pilates can be done on a mat and can be super beneficial for all types of clients, but adding in a Pilates reformer is a total gamechanger.

Why? Because a Pilates Reformer has all kinds of benefits to up your Pilates level, challenge your clients, and create a rewarding workout like no other.

Before you buy a Reformer and get to know training, we suggest you read up on a few, quick details about Reformers so you can ensure you’re teaching your clients to use these exquisite machines correctly.

  • Pilates socks are the way to go when using a Reformer. Drop the shoes and do it right! Thought Pilates is intended to be done barefoot, that’s not always a doable option (hygiene concerns inside your gym, etc.). So opt for a good pair of Pilates socks and be sure your clients know to do this, too!
  • Advise your clients to steer clear of loose-fitting clothing—billowy attire makes it difficult for you, the trainer, to check on your clients’ posture and alignment, which are hugely important when it comes to Pilates.
  • Don’t purchase a Reformer if you want your clients to “zone out”—these machines are all about mindfulness and being attentive.
  • Reformers are about quality—quantity doesn’t matter. Don’t purchase a Reformer to attempt to teach your clients to rep out a huge number of movements. Emphasize quality—fewer reps and better form, always.

Looking to purchase your own reformer? It’s important to do some research about which machines are right for your clients and your studio space. Here is a list of Pilates Reformer machines you should know about in 2020. This quick glimpse should give you an idea of what’s on the market, what you should look for, and what price range you can expect when purchasing a Reformer.

If you’re ready to learn even more about Reformers, Pilates, and everything that goes into teaching Pilates to your classes, keep up with our regularly updated blog here for even more information. But we’ve got more than just Pilates pieces on this blog—check back for regular advice, insight, tips, and tricks on the fitness world, all pointing to how we can help you succeed as a personal trainer and run a booming fitness biz.

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.