Unless you are out of touch with the world, you will be no stranger to the popular workout term, Pilates. I’m sure all of you out there have heard of this style of exercise at one point or another throughout your lives. You may or may not be aware of the fact that there are MANY styles of Pilates being practiced by thousands of people every day around the world with one of the most popular of these styles being, Reformer.

“What exactly is a Pilates Workout Reformer? I hear you ask.

Well, sit tight because in this article I will explain what this machine typically looks like, how it works and why it’s changing peoples’ exercise regimes right around the globe.


What Does a Pilates Reformer Look Like?


Pilates Workout Reformer Machine


The Pilates Reformer is a comprehensive workout machine that was founded by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s. The concept was initially developed for the sole purpose of allowing sick and wounded soldiers to strengthen their bodies and heal their injuries in a timely manner mid and post-war.

Many that come into contact with a reformer for the first time feel a little intimidated as it is admittedly quite a strange looking object. As the idea was originally formed from the use of hospital beds, the modern contraption that we use today has improved in design over the decades but, remains a solid frame representing that of a bed.

The centrepiece of the Pilates workout reformer is referred to as the “Carriage”. This is where the user will generally lay, sit, kneel or stand whilst using the machine. The carriage moves backwards and forwards within the sturdy frame on a set of wheels and it includes two built-in shoulder pads that keep the user from sliding out of place whilst using the equipment.

At one end of the reformer, the carriage is attached to the frame by a series of springs. On every Pilates reformer the springs will vary in resistance. This is so that the operator can customize the level of resistance to their workout depending on whether they are a beginner, intermediate or advanced user.

There is also an adjustable, padded bar at the opposite end of the reformer to the springs. This is called the “Foot Bar”. It is used to place either your feet or hands on throughout the workout sequence. Lastly, each reformer consists of two long straps that have a padded handle at the end. These straps can again be used by either your feet or hands my means of pulling down, out or away from the body.


How is a Pilates Reformer Used?


“Okay, so I now I know what the reformer looks like but how is one supposed to use it?”

A Pilates workout reformer is a truly remarkable exercise machine that is also very versatile. It can be used in a plethora of

Class Doing Pilates in Studio

ways but most movements on the reformer are based around either pushing or pulling the carriage in some way so that it influences the resistance of the springs. These actions are usually performed using the straps, foot bar or some other piece of equipment.

A few common examples of movements that can be performed on the Pilates reformer include but are not limited to:

  • pushing on the foot bar with your feet
  • pushing on the foot bar with your hands
  • pushing the carriage away with one foot whilst the other foot is on the standing platform
  • pulling down on the straps with your hands
  • pulling down on the straps with your feet
  • balancing on the carriage in a stationary position
  • with the use of other equipment
  • the list goes on…

The wonderful thing about the reformer is that this single, contemporary machine can target every muscle in your body. You can perform exercises laying down, sitting, kneeling, standing, half on half off, perched on something, upside down, sideways etc. There really is no limit to how you can use this multipurpose machine. It is simply up to the individual as to how they feel most comfortable using it.


Why So Many People Are Turning to Reformer Pilates


In general, the Pilates practice strongly promotes building strength, improving flexibility, toning muscle and increasing stability. Whilst all types of Pilates are popular, reformer Pilates boasts a far deeper and dynamic workout then that of mat based Pilates. This is one of the many reasons as to why people are choosing to incorporate this training style into their own exercise regime.

Whilst standard forms of exercise can be great in their own rights, reformer Pilates is fantastic for those who suffer from back pain and/or sore joints. With the gentle and controlled movements this training promotes, you can rest assured that you won’t do any harm to those troublesome areas. The entire machine is also very padded and comfortable meaning that you won’t be putting any strain on your back or knees.

As well as this, reformer Pilates does wonders for rehabilitation purposes. Whether someone is recovering from a sports related injury, an operation, accident or biological ailment, Pilates reformers can be a phenomenal tool throughout this process. In many cases, Pilates reformers have been proven to be one of the fastest yet gentlest methods available on the market.

Some other great benefits that come from using a reformer include:

  • Increased balance and coordination
  • Improved posture
  • Strengthened pelvic floor
  • Muscular endurance
  • Relief from pain
  • Lengthening of the body
  • Decreased stress & anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Promotes a strong, lean body
  • Mental clarity
  • Mindfulness
  • Graceful movement
  • Corrected breathing
  • And much much more!

Pilates Practice on Reformer
(click on the image above to view the Pilates workout reformer that we personally recommend)


It Really Is a No Brainer


Here at My Pilates Collective, we are extremely passionate about this practice and we believe that EVERYONE should be able to have access to all of these life-changing benefits associated with the Pilates workout reformer. As you can see, there are countless reasons as to why this method of exercise and piece of machinery are so widely popular around the world. The facts really do speak for themselves.

If you are an intermediate to advanced user than you will already know about and most likely agree with everything we’re talking about. However, if you have never tried this form of exercise before, we highly recommend that you do. You have nothing to lose in giving it a go and we’re confident that you will find many reasons to love this practice as much as we do!



If you have any feedback, questions or require help with anything at all, please feel free to leave us a comment below and we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.

Yours Truly,

Kiara – Site Founder

My Pilates Collective


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  1. I was at a loss of the term Pilates at first but as I go along reading your post it comes clear that you are referring to exercise using the machine Pilate reformer. I found out upon research that it was a physical fitness system invented in 20th century by Joseph Pilates.

    Can we recommend it to old people at the age of ’60s and above use it for exercise?

    1. Hi Ricardo, thanks for your comment.

      That is 100% right, Jospeh Pilates was the founder of this practice back in the 1920’s and what a truly wonderful thing he created.

      Absolutely, the Reformer (and Pilates in general) is a fantastic option for those in their 60’s and over as it is extremely gentle on joints and sensitive areas of the body. The Reformer is also very comfortable and padded so no hard pressure will be placed on the knees, back, hips etc.

  2. Thank you so much for this very thourough research on the Pilates Performer. I never started to get into training machinery because I was afraid, I might continue to buy them all and fill up my home. But as you explain, this one does it all! Does it come with pillows and accessories I see in the pictures? And another question: I have to strengthen my lower back, does it do that too?
    Great job, hope to read more soon!

    1. Hi Janie, thanks for your message 🙂

      That is absolutely correct, this machine is so versatile and you can customise your workout with it to suit any fitness level, needs and preferences. I have one in my own home and love it so much!

      A standard Reformer comes with the shoulder pads and foot/hand straps in-built. Usually, you will need to purchase head cushions and other accessories separately. Stay tuned as we will be offering top suggestions for purchase very soon.

      With regular practice, the Reformer will definitely help you strengthen your lower back through training your cores muscles to support your body ( this is commonly referred to as your “power house”).

      Hope this helps, have a great day!

  3. Such a wonderful machine. Reformer Pilates can be used in so many ways, from rehab to body contouring/building. I myself have a bad posture which I inherited from my father. Don’t know if it could be corrected by this machine. Great post

  4. Hi. Thank you for this article. I have learned a lot from it. I am a beginner at Pilates. I have never heard of Reformer Pilates. I would love to try it. There are so many benefits; I find it very exciting. I am sure I will read your every post.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Have a nice day.

    1. Hi Katja, thanks for your lovely feedback and welcome to Pilates 🙂

      There really are many wonderful benefits of the practice and we are sure that you will love Reformer Pilates. Let us know how you go and if there’s anything we can help you with along the way.

      Have a beautiful day 🙂

  5. Hello!

    I’ve never tried a reformer or even a regular pilates class myself, as I suppose I always placed it in a class similar to yoga. I’m sure I’ve had the wrong idea, but to me, it always seemed like a more gentle exercise program.

    I like to leave my workouts sweating and feeling like I’ve really worked. You mentioned that you can increase the resistance so I like the sound of that!
    Does reformer allower for a more intense approach, or is it more of a stretching, rehabilitative approach to exercise. Sorry for my ignorance!

    Thanks for the informative article!

    1. Hi there, thanks for your comment. That is a great question.

      Many people do tend to put Pilates in the same box as yoga and rightly so as some styles of the practice are very similar. However, Pilates workouts are great in that they can be tailored to your own needs and preferences (when practicing on your own) otherwise, there are many styles of Pilates that provide a more cardio workout. Some Pilates studios offer both a “flow” class as well as an “intense” Reformer class.

      If you’re after a good sweat session, we would highly recommend finding a cardio Reformer, Barre or Fusion class. These will really get you working!

      You can also check out our following post for more info on different styles of Pilates 🙂 https://mypilatescollective.com/types-of-pilates-classes-the-full-list-explained/

      Have a great day!

  6. Dear Kiara

    Thank you very much for your fantastic website. It is amazing that you show people where to start and what steps to make towards their healthy living and perfect body. I hope more people will know about your website and follow your guidance.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Andrey, thank-you so much for your lovely feedback on our website. We’re so happy to hear that you like it 🙂

      Have a great day!

  7. Hi there, thank you for this post. I have done Pilates in the past and I quite enjoyed it (as much as you can enjoy painful stretching lol). The feeling once you’ve completed is worth it though. I’ve never heard of the Pilates workout reformer so you have certainly brought this to my attention. I’d definitely be interested in using one to see how it compares to mat Pilates. I love that it is so helpful for those with injuries as many people often think their injury prevents them from exercising but this is certainly not always the case. I’ll have to look and see if there are any classes near me that use Reformers so I can try this. I guess mat Pilates has the advantage that it can be done anywhere but there certainly are many benefits to try this version.

    1. Hi Tamika, we are so glad to hear that you enjoy Pilates too 🙂 it truly is a wonderful form of exercise for anyone! Let us know if you have success finding a Reformer class near you and what you think of the style.

      Have a beautiful day!

  8. Actually I never knew about the pilateworkout reformer before because u an not a big fan of gyming or working out however, I have back pain and other complications and surely, there is a need to make use of a reformer to help me get back on track so, I decided to study more on it before making my buying decisions. Thank you so much for this reformer Pilate and surely, it is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing this

    1. Hi Rodger, thanks for your feedback.

      If you are in search of a workout style that will help you get back on track gently whilst supporting your back, reformer pilates would be the perfect thing for you.  I highly recommend trialling some classes in your area so that you can get a feel for the workout style first. 

      If you are interested in purchasing a pilates reformer for your home, the reformer that we have linked in our article is the one brand and style that we highly recommend 🙂

      Let me know if I can be of anymore assistance to you.

  9. I can’t argue that pilates are excellent for fitness but I have no space for equipment A protocol for only the exercise would be more appealing. The best bang for the buck I have found yet is kettle ball swings. What is your honest opinion on that?

    1. Hi John, kettle ball swings do provide an excellent workout option for limited amount of space. You’re quite right.

      However, if you do wish to try Pilates at home have you considered doing Mat Pilates? All you need is room enough for a workout mat and a few small props such as a Pilates ring, some small free weights and resistance bands 🙂

      Let us know if you have any further questions, more than happy to help.

  10. Hello here, this is a first time for me hearing about the Pilate’s reformer. They look like the regular yoga that I see on TV except this one looks a bit more technical. I am happy that you could share the beginning of Pilate’s and mention its founder because it is always good to learn things like this one from the very start. The reformer looks like a very good machine. I didn’t know that they have been in existence for such a long time. Thank you for sharing this. I really have to try this sometime.

  11. Very interesting to see here about the Pilate’s workout reformer and I can surely say that I’m shocked at the discoveries made here through this post. Thank you so much for sharing all these insightful tips in a reformer Pilate. Though I have never made use of it but I am more than convinced that it is for me. I need something to help relieve me off my back pains and this would be the perfect go to for me. Thank you so much and thumbs up for sharing this.

    1. Hi Shelley, thanks for your comment 🙂

      If you’re looking for a gentle yet effective workout style that will aid in relieving your back pain… Reformer Pilates will be the perfect option for you!

      I highly recommend trying a class to see if you enjoy the practice first but, if you’re looking to purchase a reformer for your home you can check out the link in our article for our recommend brand and model. 

      Have a great day 🙂

  12. I wanted to know more about this because at the fitness centre where I gym, they have a different section for those who are into Pilate’s. I felt really inquisitive and that is why I am here. Reading your post, I can see the history if Pilate’s, I see you have given a good insight into the reformer machine and also explained how it works. I think I need to join that class because it will really help my full body metabolism. It in fact looks like a great way fro me to mediate if I can buy it myself.

    1. Hi John, so glad to hear that you found this article to be helpful.

      That’s great that you’re thinking of trying the Pilates classes at your local gym, I’m sure you will love it 🙂

      If you are interested in purchasing a reformer for your home, I highly recommend you check out the Aeropilates Pro Reformer that we have linked in our article. 

      Let me know if you have any questions.

  13. The Pilates workout reformer really does look a little bit different from most work out tools. I had never heard of this training tool and lately I’ve been working on getting into great shape and hope to get a lot of these training equipment into my house over the next 5 years as we all know these are quite on the expensive side. I hope when I have enough money to get one for myself I won’t have to be changed twice the size of the item for shipping. Thank you this was really something new and worth learning about.

    1. Hi Donny, thanks for your comment.

      That sounds like a fantastic idea. It’s definitely worth investing in these pieces of equipment for yourself instead of paying for a pricey gym membership/class packages for years on end. 

      You’re right, they can be a bit expensive but they work out to be far more cost effective in the long run as opposed to paying for continual memberships as mentioned above.

      If the reformer that we recommend in this post is a little out of your budget, stay tuned as we will be reviewing other reformers and pieces of equipment in the near future 🙂

  14. If this is there, then I see one form of pilate I can bet myself doing. This pilate equipment would be a really effective one and I must admit the usefulness of the reformer which you listed in this post makes it something I’ll love everyone to try. Most especially, in aspect of helping one decrease stress and anxiety which have been one pressing issue with most people, especially amongst youth these days. I’ll love to add pilate to my work out sessions.

    1. Hi Benson, that is absolutely right. Pilates is general is such an effective way of treating our stress and anxiety, something that everyone should be made aware of 🙂

      We’re glad to hear that you are thinking about incorporating Pilates into your exercise regime. Let us know if you have any questions moving forward.

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