“I have tried the Pilates reformer for a month”

While well versed in the benefits of reformer Pilates – greater mobility, a tighter core, and a deeper mind-body connection to name a few – it’s not a mainstay of my workout routine. Instead, for years, I have preferred the immediate run of running to stretching based training; the ease of putting on my kit and going out for some solo endorphins.

But with more people enthusiastic about the transformative effect of reforming Pilates (Adele, Hailey Bieber and Margot Robbie are all avid fans now) and my levels of stress and flexibility on an equal downward trajectory, I decided it was time to see what it was all about. .

And so, I signed up for a month in the reformer Pilates. Here’s what happened.

What is the reformer Pilates?

Unlike the Pilates mat, it is a large piece of equipment (a reforming machine) designed with a system of springs and pulleys to provide resistance; has a surface, a footbar and static platforms in the front and back to allow for different exercises and movements.

“The cushioning, height and instability of the rolling carriage with the variety of spring resistance provide all kinds of stability challenges that develop deep core strength and better balance and coordination,” explains PT and founder of Heartcore, Jessie Blum. “The machine works the whole body resulting in a low impact method that integrates breathing with movement and activates the deep core muscles.”

Remember: it’s a full-body workout that works every muscle, big or small, from the deep front abdominals to the lateral waist to the back and glutes and pelvic floor. Your diaphragm also plays a key role in keeping you healthy in your movements, Blum reminds me. The purpose? Build core strength, strengthen your muscles and challenge your balance and flexibility.

Can Anyone Do Pilates Reformer?

Yes. Both beginners and professionals will reap the rewards of the reformer Pilates and you can customize the practice and make it suitable for beginners. “You can apply the same principles but with different spring tensions or different configurations, which means that it is totally adaptable to beginners and the stronger you become the harder you will be able to cope,” confirms Blum. “When the springs are in a lighter position, some movements are more demanding on the core, working very hard to control and stabilize the movement.”

As each reformer class is unique and each coach takes a different approach, if you have any injuries or health conditions, it’s worth doing your research before booking a class. Likewise, if you have spinal conditions, it’s worth speaking to a professional first to avoid exacerbating any pre-existing problems.

Check out our complete guide to the Reformer Pilates for more information, including the best lessons and kit you’ll need.

What did my one month Pilates reformer challenge look like?

My challenge as a Pilates reformer took place in one of London’s revered reform studios, Heartcore, a space that prides itself on doing things differently. With various locations across London, the setting itself is enough to appeal to anyone (sleek interiors and soft lighting scattered with high-tech reformer machines), but the appeal lies entirely in the practice and expert PTs that rely on traditional Pilates and on yoga to create innovative dynamic pilates classes.

I booked two one-hour classes a week (which, to my information, is a lot for me) for a month to see if it would produce physical and mental benefits.

What Happened When I First Tried the Pilates Reformer?

Arriving at the St John’s Wood studio for the first time, I felt really nervous. Not only am I an absolute beginner, but it’s been a few years since I signed up for a group fitness class and I’m sure some of you will agree that the reformer machines look a little intimidating. How difficult can it be, I wondered. It turns out, Very.


During my first dynamic Pilates class, I worked my way through the slow, precise movements, my core was burning and my heart was beating, and I felt out of unison with the rest of the class. There were squats and lunges; descendant dogs and frogs. How did I feel afterwards? Incredible.

5 Things I Learned When I Tried the Pilates Reformer

1. Reformer Pilates is difficult but the practice pays off

      There is nothing to fault that reformer Pilates is tough. It’s the kind of workout after which you feel physically exhausted but still full of energy. Not only does the movements feel easier after a couple of sessions (I also highly recommend doing a PT session so you can really understand the movements better), but it produces results much faster than I expected.

      After about three weeks, my arms appeared more defined (I rarely train my upper body, which probably contributes to why I noticed a * slight * difference so early, but this is likely to be due to a pumping as well. muscle – when blood flows to your muscles to repair them, which makes them appear more defined, but this aspect doesn’t last). My energy levels were also noticeably higher which brings me to the next point.

      2. Pilates Reformer Increases Energy Levels

          For some reason, I hadn’t expected the Pilates reformer to give me the same kind of rush I feel when running. But it really does. Unlike running, however, I felt full of energy after each reformer session without that addiction that gets you high; instead I felt calm, motivated and positive.

              3. Pilates Reformer is easy on the joints

                  Hammering the streets on a weekly basis and a recent half marathon left my poor joints in bad shape. And do you know what it didn’t help? Not doing the proper stretches and yoga afterwards. After a few sessions of pilates rerformer, I noticed that my knees felt less sore which is a big win. This comes down to its low-impact nature – you strengthen surrounding joints and muscles without putting pressure on them, which allows anyone in need of recovery to do so.

                  4. Reformer Pilates works wonders for the tech neck

                  The stretches and breathing involved in reformer Pilates really helped relieve some neck muscle tension caused by staring at a screen for so long (hi, tech Neck) and stress. “When dealing with stress and tension, the body’s physiological response is to swell in the stomach area and tighten the neck and shoulders,” explains Blum, which is why breathing and core strength development are so important.

                  5. You can combine the reformer Pilates with home workouts

                      Reformer Pilates is amazing, but it can be expensive to exercise regularly every week. I love that you can take some of your teachings and apply them to a home workout. For example, using a Pilates ring to challenge the abs on the mat.

                      Exactly what I will do now that I have completed my reformer Pilates challenge: a weekly class and a Pilates workout at home from here on out. Run who?

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