If you're looking to take your fitness routine to the next level, a Pilates Reformer machine may be just what you need. This versatile piece of equipment can enhance your workout and help you achieve your fitness goals faster. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, the Pilates Reformer machine offers a wide range of exercises that target different muscle groups and improve flexibility, strength, and balance. But is it worth the money? Can I get all these same benefits from mat pilates than I can from reformer pilates? In this article, we'll explore the benefits of using a Pilates Reformer machine and how it can take your fitness journey to new heights.
What is a Pilates Reformer machine?
A Pilates Reformer machine is a piece of fitness equipment that is designed to enhance your Pilates workout. It consists of a sliding carriage that is attached to a frame with springs and straps. The carriage can be moved back and forth, providing resistance and allowing for a wide range of exercises. The springs and straps can be adjusted to increase or decrease the resistance, making it suitable for people of all fitness levels. The Pilates Reformer machine is known for its ability to target specific muscle groups and improve overall strength, flexibility, and balance. Whether you're looking to tone your muscles, improve your posture, or rehabilitate from an injury, the Pilates Reformer machine can be a valuable addition to your fitness routine.
How does a Pilates Reformer machine work?
A Pilates Reformer machine works by utilizing the resistance provided by the springs and straps to challenge your muscles and improve your overall fitness. The sliding carriage allows for smooth and controlled movements, engaging your core and stabilizing muscles throughout each exercise. By adjusting the resistance, you can increase the intensity of your workout and target specific muscle groups. The versatility of the machine allows for a wide range of exercises, including lunges, squats, and abdominal work, making it a comprehensive tool for full-body conditioning. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced fitness enthusiast, the Pilates Reformer machine can be customized to meet your individual needs and help you achieve your fitness goals.
How to use a Pilates Reformer
Before you start using a Pilates Reformer, it's important to familiarize yourself with the equipment. Take some time to understand the different parts of the Reformer, such as the carriage, footbar, and springs. Learn how to adjust the settings and make sure everything is in proper working order. This will help you feel more comfortable and confident as you begin your Pilates journey with the Reformer. Below are some bullet points of the main areas you need to be familiar with.
- Front platform
- Gliding carriage
- Back platform
Some Reformers also come with additional accessories such as jump board and boxes. These add another level of variety to the exercises you can do.
Once you are familiar with the equipment, it's time to start using the Pilates Reformer. Begin by warming up your body with some gentle stretches and movements. Then, choose a starting position on the carriage and adjust the springs to your desired resistance level. Remember to engage your core and maintain proper form throughout your workout. There are a variety of exercises you can do on the Reformer, targeting different muscle groups and improving strength, flexibility, and balance. It's important to start with beginner-level exercises and gradually progress as you become more comfortable and confident. If you're new to using a Pilates Reformer, it may be helpful to take a class or work with a certified instructor to ensure you are using the equipment correctly and safely.
So what are the benefits of using a Reformer for Pilates?
Increased resistance and muscle activation
One of the key benefits of using a Pilates Reformer machine for your workout is the increased resistance it provides. The springs and straps on the machine create resistance that challenges your muscles and helps to build strength and endurance. This increased resistance not only makes your workout more challenging, but it also activates more muscles throughout your body. The sliding carriage and adjustable resistance allow you to target specific muscle groups and increase the intensity of your exercises. This means that you can effectively work your core, arms, legs, and back all in one workout. By incorporating the Pilates Reformer machine into your fitness routine, you can enhance your workout and achieve your fitness goals faster.
Improved flexibility and range of motion.
In addition to increased resistance, using a Pilates Reformer machine can also improve your flexibility and range of motion. The machine allows for a wide range of movements and stretches that can help to lengthen and strengthen your muscles. The sliding carriage and adjustable footbar allow you to perform exercises that target specific muscle groups and stretch them to their full range of motion. This can help to improve your overall flexibility and make everyday movements easier and more fluid. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced fitness enthusiast, incorporating the Pilates Reformer machine into your workout routine can help you achieve greater flexibility and range of motion.
Targeted muscle strengthening and toning.
When will I begin to see results from reformer pilates?
If you've recently started practicing reformer pilates and are wondering when you'll start seeing results, you're not alone.
In the first few weeks of practicing reformer pilates, the focus is on building strength and coordination. This is the foundation for achieving your fitness goals. During this time, you may not see drastic changes in your body, but you will start to notice improvements in your overall strength and flexibility. Your muscles will begin to adapt to the movements and you'll become more comfortable with the equipment. It's important to stay consistent and committed during this phase, as it sets the stage for the results to come.
By weeks 4-8 of practicing reformer pilates, you will start to see noticeable changes in your body. Your muscles will become more toned and defined, and you may start to see improvements in your posture. Your clothes may fit better and you may feel more confident in your appearance. This is the stage where you will start to see the physical benefits of your hard work and dedication. It's important to continue pushing yourself and challenging your body during this time to continue seeing progress. Remember, everyone's timeline for results may vary, so be patient and stay committed to your practice.
When it comes to seeing long-term results from reformer pilates, consistency is key. While you may start to see noticeable changes in your body within the first few weeks, it's important to continue practicing regularly to maintain and further enhance those results. By sticking to a consistent routine and challenging yourself with more advanced exercises, you can continue to see improvements in your strength, flexibility, and overall fitness level. Remember, everyone's journey is different, so be patient with yourself and trust in the process. With dedication and consistency, you will achieve your fitness goals and enjoy the long-term benefits of reformer pilates.
What do other pilates influencers, instructors and enthusiasts have to say about reformer pilates?
We spoke to a range of pilates influencers, instructors and enthusiasts to hear their opinions on reformer pilates.
Michelle & Alexis (@pilatesbymichelleandalexis), are an enthusiastic pilates duo who have attracted a great online following as a result of their engaging and inclusive workout videos. We asked them if they prefer reformer or mat pilates and they said "I prefer reformer Pilates because the variety of exercises you can do are endless. I also came from a very athletic background being a gymnast and a diver growing up, so most the workouts involved cardio and weight training. So when I discovered Pilates, I loved that you could get the cardio aspect using the jumpboard and the strength training from the reformer".
Neveen (@pilatesbyneveen) is a certified balanced body pilates instructor. She said she loved reformer pilates because it's "fun" and made her feel "creative". She also stated that she's "guilty of having a short attention span and mat pilates can feel a bit mundane".
Chloe Thompson (@cbfitnessandpilates), an informative and inspirational pilates influencer and certified instructor gave us a difference perspective telling us that mat pilates was her favourite type of pilates. She told us "people get so excited about the equipment that they forget the fundamentals of the mat exercises. The mat repertoire sets you up for the great pilates equipment".
So what is better mat Pilates or reformer Pilates?
When deciding between reformer pilates and mat pilates, there are several factors to consider. One important factor is your fitness level and experience with pilates. Reformer pilates uses a machine with adjustable resistance, which can provide a more challenging workout for those who are already physically fit. On the other hand, mat pilates uses bodyweight exercises and may be more suitable for beginners or those who prefer a less intense workout.
Another factor to consider is your personal preferences and goals. Reformer pilates offers a wider variety of exercises and variations, allowing for more targeted muscle engagement and a greater range of motion. Mat pilates, on the other hand, focuses on core strength and stability, and may be more appealing to those who prefer a simpler, equipment-free workout.
Additionally, consider your budget and access to equipment. Reformer pilates classes typically require the use of a reformer machine, which can be expensive to purchase for home use. Mat pilates, on the other hand, can be done with just a mat and minimal equipment, making it more accessible and cost-effective.
Ultimately, the choice between reformer pilates and mat pilates depends on your individual preferences, goals, and resources. It may be helpful to try both types of pilates and see which one you enjoy and benefit from the most. Remember a combination of both mat pilates and reformer pilates may be the best solution!
If you are interest in learning about the best pilates reformers on the market, you can take a read of our buying guide. Some brilliant reformers include the Merrithew SPX Max, the Elina Elite Reformer and the Align C2.