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Reformer Pilates explained: How It Can Work For You

July 24, 2023

The famous and influential – from Margot Robbie to Meghan Markle – swear by the body conditioning benefits of reformer Pilates (where the low-impact, mind-body discipline is performed on specialist equipment, allowing for a more dynamic, supportive, and/or targeted workout). But the practice is for all, whatever your physique or fitness ability."

Reformer Pilates explained: how it can work for you

"The reformer machine was originally designed by Joseph Pilates using rudimentary materials such as bed springs to help add a level of resistance to exercises, but also support those who needed help during certain exercises," explains Hollie Grant, Founder of Pilates PT. "Many of the reformer exercises are simply mat Pilates exercises that use the machine to either make the exercise more challenging or make it easier. This is the beauty of the reformer – it can help make intensify exercises (by increasing resistance) but it can also make exercises easier (by providing support through resistance)." Therefore, she says it’s great for those who are injured, as the machine can feel supportive and helps ensure you’re in the correct position, but she also finds it can be more engaging than mat Pilates. "Reformer machines offer so many options, and alternatives to exercises that a mat simply wouldn’t allow. This is why people become addicted to the method and continue to practice it for decades!"


James Shaw, head of Pilates at Equinox St James, and formerly Frame’s reformer expert adds, "That you need to be 'in shape' to do reformer Pilates is not true”. This makes reformer Pilates a great place to start in the world of studio workouts, whatever your abilities, he explains. “All the exercises can be progressed and regressed to the individual being taught. This will enable you to be challenged, thus strengthening you in multiple ways and setting you up to achieve your fitness goals.”

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