The Pros and Cons of Pilates Reformer Compared


Pilates is an excellent way to keep in shape by using strength training instead of doing high-impact moves that can take a toll on your joints. You can also incorporate equipment that provides resistance and intensity, like balls and machines. A popular machine used for strength training is the Pilates reformer.

Some pros to using the Pilates reformer include proper form guidance to activate your core, more resistance for toning, and assistance in posture during movements. It’s also versatile, with more workout options. A disadvantage is the price when attending classes or buying it for your personal gym.

Are you a lover of Pilates and interested in taking a reformer Pilates class or adding this excellent piece of equipment to your home gym? Then read further as this article will explore the pros and cons of the Pilates reformer and if it’s better than regular Pilates. After reading this article, you’ll be able to make an educated decision on whether the Pilates reformer is right for you!

Weighing the Benefits and Disadvantages of the Pilates Reformer

As a qualified Pilates trainer, I have had many questions about the Pilates reformer and how it benefits your overall results. I’ve compiled the good and the bad of using the Pilates reformer during your body-conditioning journey, so you will know what to expect and how to use it to optimize your experience. This device can be a powerful tool in mastering your overall Pilates routine.

The Benefits of Using the Pilates Reformer

The Pilates reformer is a piece of equipment that can optimize overall fitness, including strength, balance, and flexibility, while also improving your mental well-being.

The machine helps you advance in mastering the art of Pilates and your overall health.

It may appear intimidating because it looks like a bed with a system of ropes, pulleys, and springs, but it will aid you in the Pilates motions while providing resistance for strength and toning.

Here are the following pros to utilizing this odd-looking contraption during your Pilates routine:

  • It offers resistance to maximize body conditioning.
  • The design provides assistance as you move through positions, improving awareness.
  • It’s easy to use once you’ve learned the Pilates basics.
  • Because of the pulley system’s weight resistance, you’ll notice enhanced strength, balance, and posture quicker than mat Pilates.
  • It provides more exercise options as you advance in your routine.
  • There are more variations of use versus mat Pilates.
  • It offers versatility for different skill levels and goals.
  • It offers an entire body workout.

The Downfall to the Pilates Reformer

If you’re thinking of jumping onto the Pilates reformer bandwagon, weighing the pros and cons is a great idea. The following are cons to the Pilates reformer machine:

  • It’s recommended to begin with regular Pilates to train your body, breathing, and mental focus before utilizing the Pilates reformer.
  • There is limited availability of Pilates reformer classes due to location. Not all Pilates studios have these machines to utilize during classes. Most are your basic mat Pilates classes.
  • Reformer Pilates classes can be expensive.
  • As with many other pieces of gym equipment, investing in a Pilates reformer can be a bit pricey for your home gym. Prices can be from $500 up to $6000 or more. The price depends on what you want out of the device.

Is Reformer Pilates Better Than Regular Pilates?

Reformer Pilates is better at helping you achieve results more quickly, although both reformer and regular Pilates can help with toning, stability, and improved health. Reformer Pilates adds more resistance and whole-body workout options.

As mentioned in my article, “Can You Do Pilates Without a Machine?“, additional equipment isn’t necessary to be successful with Pilates. However, utilizing equipment like the Pilates reformer will help optimize your workout for better tone, balance, and posture. It’s essential to know mat Pilates teaches you how to move through positions with controlled breathing, stability, and core activation.

So, yes, reformer Pilates can maximize your exercise routine, but it’s better to start with regular mat Pilates if you’re at the beginner level.

The Basics of Mat Pilates

This exercise method was developed by Joseph Pilates, who worked as a circus performer and boxer during World War I. He began developing various floor exercises, now known as Pilates, and used them to rehabilitate those suffering from disease and injuries. Joseph added to these exercises by utilizing resources like bed springs and beer keg rings to create resistance for strength and conditioning.

His creative use of these resources led to the creation of beneficial Pilates equipment used today, like the Pilates reformer.

The exercises are designed to incorporate moves that use your upper and lower body and your core. The intentional and deep breathing done during your workout helps reduce stress and enhance your concentration in your life.

How Pilates Can Improve Your Life

Joseph Pilates exercise techniques not only enhance your muscle tone and balance but also improve your ability to perform daily physical tasks.

Pilates is considered “functional fitness” because it trains your core and other muscles to work together during movements that are common in everyday activities and tasks. Performing functional fitness exercises helps you manoeuvre throughout the day without risk of injury from poor muscle strength and coordination.

Here are some of the following daily activities that will benefit from functional fitness, such as Pilates:

  • Walking.
  • Posture and balance.
  • Bending and squatting.
  • Pushing and pulling.
  • Picking up or putting down items at lower levels, such as the floor or bottom shelf.
  • Standing from a sitting position.
  • Carrying objects, whether light or heavy.

The Pilates method engages awareness of your breathing, mental focus, and body positioning. As you guide your body through the movements, you’re activating your “powerhouse,” which is your core. Strengthening your core is vital to prevent weak muscles and fatigue that can cause injury when performing daily tasks.

Here are the basic principles of Pilates:

  • Breath
  • Concentration
  • Centering
  • Control
  • Precision
  • Flow

These principles are essential to successfully practising the art of Pilates and improving your lifestyle.

Once you understand the fundamentals of Pilates, incorporating equipment like the Pilates reformer will take your results and experience to the next level.

Where To Begin With Pilates

Many gyms across the country have added Pilates classes because of the rising popularity of this exercise method. You can search for classes held locally or hire a personal Pilates instructor if you’re not comfortable in a class setting. You can also utilize YouTube workout videos right from your home.

In this article, “Starting Pilates as a total beginner: Things you need to know,” I provide what you should expect, what you need, and some tips when beginning your Pilates journey.

I also offer free Pilates videos on my YouTube channel that are great for beginners and up. You don’t need to attend a fancy Pilates studio to enjoy the mental and physical benefits this method provides. All you need is a mat and your living room!

So, come join us here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmUxqJ_KuN6GQFc0Tg2o-XQ

Enhancing Results With the Pilates Reformer

Don’t be intimidated by the dramatic impression of this piece of equipment. When utilized properly, it can be a powerful tool to improve the results of the Pilates method. This equipment offers the ability to adjust the parts for body size and skill level while offering different resistance levels for better toning.

The Pilates reformer is versatile with different uses, like standing, laying down, or sitting. There are various ways to use the machine. This innovative piece of equipment incorporates all the benefits of regular mat Pilates and then some!

Using the Pilates Reformer

As mentioned above, there are many pros to incorporating the Pilates reformer into your exercise routine.

Getting guidance from a certified trainer is highly recommended to prevent injuries while learning to use this equipment.

The mechanics of the Pilates reformer consist of the following:

  • Carriage. A flat surface that glides along the frame, where you can sit, stand, or lay down on.
  • Springs. Creates different levels of resistance with the ability to adjust it depending on your goals and comfort.
  • Foot bar. An adjustable bar that allows you to rest your feet or hands, located at one end of the reformer.
  • Straps. Located at the opposite end of the foot bar, it provides various exercise options that can be performed using your hands and feet.

While it looks complex, it’s not as difficult to use.

Because of the versatility of the Pilates reformer, there are endless possibilities of use without the worry of hitting that dreaded plateau. Positions that are easy for you to perform with regular Pilates can be challenging when you use the Pilates reformer.

Create a Comfortable Resistance

The springs are used for tension and support as you go through the Pilates motions.

Typically, the springs will be different colours to represent varying tensions. The tension options can vary depending on the type and brand of machine you’re using. These are the colours and resistance generally found on the reformer:

  • Yellow. A very light resistance.
  • Blue. Light resistance.
  • Red. Full resistance.
  • Green. Heavy resistance.

Adjust the springs to provide a comfortable resistance during your motions to reduce the risk of injury.

Using less tension can promote more work from your muscles due to less support during your movements, which can make a move more challenging.

Using the Straps

As you move the straps, the carriage will also move because the straps are connected to the carriage. The carriage is connected to the springs, which adds to the resistance you feel as you use the straps during movements. You can use the straps with your hands or feet, depending on the moves you’re doing.

The straps offer support and guidance as you move through the positions, and most designs come with adjustable straps to fit securely, reducing the risk of injury.

Take Advantage of the Versatility

During regular Pilates, you’re gracefully going through movements and positions with just your body and mat.

Using the reformer will get you to where you want to be and beyond.

As mentioned above, the Pilates reformer is a highly versatile piece of equipment used to enhance the Pilates experience and help you advance with many options available to reach your overall goals. Whether you want to maintain or improve your strength and overall health, you can do so with this machine. Its versatility will help prevent workout boredom that many of us have suffered from the same routine over and over.

And when you can change up your routine, your body and muscles will continue to learn and strengthen without hitting a plateau.

Always Listen to Your Body

As with any exercise routine, you should never ignore what your body is telling you. Ignoring your body’s limits can cause severe and minor injuries, whether you’re using a machine or not. Keep your mental focus and stay in tune with how your body reacts.

Even though the reformer offers assistance through your motions, your body will let you know if the resistance is too much or if you’re moving the wrong way.

When learning new positions and movements, it’s best to try them on the mat before attempting them on the machine. Once you have good control of your body and breathing during the movements, you can incorporate them into your reformer workout. This will reduce the risk of injury when using the reformer.

In Conclusion

Pilates is an excellent way to improve your overall health and daily mood. Once you have learned the fundamentals of this beautiful exercise, you can advance to utilizing special equipment. The Pilates reformer provides various ways to optimize your Pilates workout for maximum results.

Unfortunately, finding a location that offers reformer Pilates classes can be challenging, and if you do, the price will be higher than regular mat Pilates. Adding this piece of equipment to your home gym can be costly, with prices ranging from $500 to $6000, depending on the machine and options.Sources

Donna Finnie

Donna loves to share her passion for Pilates with others. She is a fully qualified instructor who believes Pilates is for everyone, regardless of age, as it can truly help to increase strength, flexibility mobility and athletic performance.

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