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The Reformer makes a dramatic impression upon first sight, and an even more dramatic change in your body, with regular classes. What makes the reformer so special? First, take a look at what a reformer is and how it works, then explore the benefits a reformer might have for your body.

What Is a Reformer?

The reformer was invented by Joseph Pilates. It is a bed-like frame with a flat platform (called the carriage). The carriage rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame and is attached to one end of the reformer by a set of springs. The springs provide various levels of resistance, (depending on which you choose for each exercise) as the carriage is pushed or pulled along the frame. The carriage has shoulder blocks on it that keep practitioners from sliding off the end of the reformer as they push or pull the carriage.

At the spring end of the reformer, there is an adjustable bar called a foot-bar. The reformer also has long straps with fabric loops attached, for feet or hands. These features are used in a variety of ways, depending on the exercise performed. The clients own body weight and the resistance of the springs, are what make the carriage more or less difficult to move.

How a Reformer Is Used

A wide variety of Pilates exercises can be achieved on the reformer, to promote length, strength, flexibility, and balance. These are in addition to the Matwork exercises you may have experienced before in Pilates classes; Most Reformer exercises have to do with pushing or pulling the carriage or holding the carriage steady during an exercise as it is pulled on by the springs.

One of the best things about the reformer is its versatility; it can be used to regress, or progress any given exercise, depending on the Spring setting; There is also a large repertoire of levelled Reformer exercises, so there is something for everyone.


The Reformer offers all the benefits of Matwork Pilates,┬áincluding balance, strength, flexibility, and coordination. These things, in turn, lead to daily life improvements; becoming stronger, as well as a graceful and efficient mover; The reformer is large enough to accommodate full-range movement, which is wonderful for increasing flexibility while building strength. It seems to invite the length you want to create in the body, and it trains the body to maintain that length. The reformer’s set-up for eccentric contraction┬áis one of the keys to achieving the long, strong muscles without bulk.

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