• Tracy Coe

The anatomy of the Reformer


Pilates classes

To enhance your understanding of the workouts, it helps to know how the reformer works.Founder Joseph Pilates created a series of equipment to provide resistance and guide students through proper ranges of movement. These tools include the Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, Circle, Spine Corrector, Barrel and Ped-o-pull, among others. Reformer Pilates workouts are very well-known among the exercise community, and often times, you’ll see reformers in doctors’ offices and in physical therapy rehabilitation facilities.

The reformer is considered a central Pilates apparatus, and is used in both classes and privates, among students of all ages and fitness levels. Typically, a reformer is composed of sturdy wood, aluminum or steel, with a sliding platform that allows students to perform exercises from a wide array of positions, including standing, sitting, kneeling and lying down. The platform is attached with springs at one end that controls the amount of weight or resistance used with each exercise. The platform moves when the student pulls on the ropes or pushes off from the foot bar, which is stationary.

One of the many benefits of reformer workouts is that the type of resistance provided by this equipment is extremely safe—it reduces stress on our tendons and ligaments by providing more resistance at the strongest point of muscle contraction and less at the starting and finishing points, while the adjustable straps help you position your arms and legs properly. The construction of the reformer enables fluid movements and smooth transitions, resulting in comprehensive workouts that revitalize your body like few other fitness apparatuses.

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