Why fitness professionals love the Pilates Reformer

As a Certified Pilates Instructor, and Strength and Conditioning Specialist, I have had numerous conversations about the Pilates Reformer with many fitness professionals. Even trainers who are not pilates specialists appreciate the versatility, elegance and design of the Pilates Reformer. Since its inception, the reformer’s features were replicated and adopted by other fitness methods and have inspired the fitness world. The original Pilates Reformer has evolved into today's most seamless and comprehensive fitness gear available.


Resistance without impact

The Reformer provides continuous resistance without the burden of heavy weights while achieving muscle fatigue. Heavy weights can exacerbate existing joint dysfunction due to the heightened tension on ligaments. Springs allows the muscle to find resistance without compression.


Easy manipulation

Instead of switching weights or adding plates, resistance is adjusted simply by switching the springs. Colored markings on the springs distinguish different resistances. Resistance can be further tuned by placing the springs on a double tiered knobs and/or changing the position of the footbar relative to the knobs. The Allegro 2 Reformer (used at ReformFit Pilates) also features a gliding footbar that can be positioned in front or behind the springs. Changing the position of the footbar adds yet another level of adjustment to provide the most appropriate and customized load. The new generation of Balanced Body brand Allegro 2’s five-spring resistance system allows up to 46 resistances.


Pull and push

Unlike lat pull or rowing machines, the Reformer provides both pull and push exercises for almost every muscle of the body.


No bulky weight, no large moving parts

The lack of heavy weights or large moving parts makes the Reformer easier to maneuver and safer to adjust. Avoiding long bars and cumbersome machines removes the risk of dropping a weight or the need for spotting. There is also no clunky stacks or awkward plates to lag around. The Reformer’s structure is designed to streamline exercises in a fashion unlike any other. One can exercise on the back, stomach, and side, among other positions, in a way that allows for flow and grace.


Tactile feedback

When performing exercises on the Reformer, it offers features that frame the body and enable people to utilize a sense called proprioception (the ability to recognize and control the body’s position in space). The shoulder rests remind individuals to lower their shoulders and relax the neck. Placing the feet on the footbar can guide individuals to work in symmetry. The carriage (moving mat) gives individuals a sense of spinal placement. Instructors can remove or add these features in order to challenge or aid the practitioner.


Universal appeal

The Reformer is built to allow support and ease. The Reformer offers a plethora of exercises that can be done lying down or sitting. Soft straps and contoured upholstery provide comfort so participants can focus on the task at hand. Unique accessories such as the “Box” and the “Wedge” make the reformer extremely friendly to special populations such as individuals in rehabilitation and pregnant women.


Resistance as assistance

The springs’ setup allows support for certain exercises while providing challenge for others. For example, placing lighter resistance during the plank exercise can actually increase the intensity of abdominal work. The Pilates repertoire was designed to demand strength along with control and core stability. That trait is complemented best by the Pilates Reformer.


Ayelet Feig