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What Is a Reformer and What Does It Do?

What Is a Reformer and What Does It Do?

Proper equipment is necessary for performing any form of exercise. Having one will help ensure that you’re prone to fewer risks of injuries when working out—even when it’s for Pilates. With Pilates growing in popularity over the years, more equipment is being used to practice it. One of the most popular and widely used equipment is the reformer. 

If you plan on leveling up your Pilates game, learn more about this equipment and how it functions when working out. Discover its common components that you can use to enhance your routines and results. With this article, learn why it’s such an essential piece of equipment and how you can use it to achieve your fitness goals. 

 

What Is a Reformer? 

Wondering what is a reformer? Well, it's a type of exercise apparatus used in Pilates that can provide more intense routines than a mat Pilates session. The Pilates founder, Joseph Pilates, initially invented it, mainly identified by its elevated bed-like frame. It can be made from wood, metal, or a combination. 

It can be used when lying down, standing, on your side, kneeling, or on all fours. Pilates currently uses two types of reformers: the conventional and the Cadillac. 

 

Main Components of the Equipment

Reformers are highly customizable equipment that people of all body types can exercise. To further understand how it works and can benefit your body, here are the main components of the equipment: 

Carriage

This flat, padded platform moves back and forth using spring resistance. It's also attached to hidden runners so it can move freely throughout the length of the frame. This makes the execution of any routine smooth and helps practitioners achieve the "flow" in Pilates. 

Headrest

There's also a movable headrest with shoulder blocks in the equipment. You can adjust and use this to properly align your head and neck during your exercises, especially when you're lying down. The attached shoulder blocks also keep users from sliding off the end of the equipment.

Footbar

This is located at one end of the apparatus and is designed to help users perform various footwork during their routines. It’s adjustable and easy to lower or raise when necessary during an exercise session. 

Springs

This provides the carriage spring resistance—a resistance level for every body for each movement. You can easily customize this based on your preference and strength. 

Straps or Ropes

These are located on the other end of the equipment and come with handles attached to the frame's top end. They can be pulled with your legs or arms—with the smaller loop handles intended for hands and the larger ones for feet. 

Metal Frame

This is present on Cadillac reformers only, called the Trapeze Table. This frame has four uprights positioned in each corner of the wooden base. You can attach more ropes and pulleys to this metal frame to lift your legs and arms into the air during your sessions. 

 

Functions and Benefits of Reformers

As for the functions and benefits, a reformer performs routines and movements during a Pilates session better and correctly. It’s specially designed to offer you the following benefits: 

Helps in Strength Building

The pushing and pulling with your arms and legs against the spring resistance of the equipment can help you build strength. Its different parts work various muscles, like your core, glutes, arms, legs, and more. It offers a variety of movement options that can help you strengthen your bones and muscles. This can result in better muscle tone, strength, and definition. 

Improves Flexibility

The whole apparatus is large enough to support full-range motion, which helps in increasing your body’s flexibility. By elongating your muscles and focusing on the proper alignment of your body, you can improve your posture, increase your joint mobility, and develop long, lean muscles. 

Improves Posture

Since there are parts of the apparatus that support and hold your body in proper alignment, using reformers can improve the posture of those who practice Pilates regularly. It promotes skeletal alignment and back muscle strength, which help develop proper posture over time.

Offers Resistance and Variety

You can adjust the resistance level of your equipment. The springs are modifiable to make your exercises more or less challenging—this is important for continuous progression as your physical fitness improves. With various resistance levels, you can start from a less challenging level as you start and increase it as you gain more strength and experience. 

Challenges Your Balance and Stability

Pilates exercises often incorporate instability, like standing on a carriage or standing on one leg at a time. Such movements challenge and engage your core muscles and require your body's coordination. This enhances your balance, stability, and overall body control. 

Boosts Stamina

Since it offers resistance, regular workouts using the equipment will constantly engage your body, specifically your muscles. Over time, this will help you develop and improve your stamina. 

 

Who Is It Best For? 

Aside from Pilates practitioners, people with various fitness levels and backgrounds can also use and benefit from using reformers. For instance, it can be beneficial for: 

  • People who need rehabilitation and injury recovery

Controlled and gentle movements are possible when using the equipment. This makes it ideal for those recovering. The spring resistance can also be adjusted to accommodate their needs for a safe and effective recovery process. 

  • Athletes and dancers

They can use reformers to enhance their core strength, body awareness, and flexibility. By doing so, they can lessen the risks of injuries and improve their performance. 

  • Prenatal and postnatal women

The equipment's versatility can cater to the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum women. They can use it to perform modified exercises suitable for them. This can help them maintain their flexibility, strength, and pelvic floor health, which are all important during pregnancy. It can also be used to regain their core stability after childbirth. 

 

Conclusion

Pilates reformers are well-developed equipment that people of all ages can use as they embark on their fitness journey. It’s designed to support all sorts of movements that will work all over your body, helping you become stronger and healthier over time. With one, you can boost the benefits you can get from Pilates and other forms of exercise. 

To check some product options, you can visit our reformer collection. We offer both universal and Cadillac reformers from reliable brands!  

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