Ellen teaching client on the Reformer
Ellen teaching client on the Reformer

? Do you do Reformer Pilates?

We often get asked this question. You see, “Reformer Pilates” has become a popular buzz phrase, a trend, the latest craze in fitness. Except it isnt… if you’re in the Pilates know!

There isn’t such a thing as “Reformer Pilates” It’s not a type of Pilates, like there was Matwork Pilates and now you should be doing “Reformer Pilates”
This became a coined phrase by fitness companies trying to suggest that Matwork Pilates got zooped up and now we should all be doing it on the Reformer instead like the celebs. Many teachers went out instantly to get trained in Reformer, many fitness companies try to introduce Reformers into gyms (with often disastrous outcome… just google it to see what I mean!) Cities went crazy for the marketing buzz and started training fitness personal trainers in their fitness hybrid Pilates on a Reformer and called it “Dynamic Pilates” implying Matwork was static and boring and you should be feeling the burn of the lunge, squat combo on non springs for that ultimate bootcamp workout!

But let’s tell it how it is shall we?! Michelle explains it all in this video or continue reading below or the other way around, whatever you fancy!

There is Pilates. Pilates isn’t just exercise. it’s a system and a discipline. It includes working out on a Reformer, it always has, it’s not a new fad….? ….AND then there is working out on other apparatus like Wunda chairs, High chair, Tower, ladder barrel etc to name a few, plus learning Matwork for your homework! The rest of the apparatus is there to help you as an individual with what your body needs to do the exercises better on the Reformer and to prepare you for new exercises . The Reformer teaches you how to do exercises on the Mat. It’s all linked together, like a spiders web, a thread, a connection. But that only works if your teacher is trained to understand the full Pilates system and method and not just learning how to use a Reformer to do exercises on.

?As a Pilates practitioner, you as the client need to “learn” how to workout on the Reformer. It’s not a machine like you see in the gym, doing the work for you, its apparatus. You can’t just do a gym stretch or any fitness exercise and plonk it on a Reformer and call it Pilates!

Pilates is a discipline, a system, there is an order to learn on the Matwork and Reformer and part of you learning Pilates is learning how your order, remembering it, learning the transitions between the exercises. You need to learn the exercises over time, develop your body across the other pieces of apparatus in order to improve how you move on the Reformer and prep your body to introduce new exercises on the Reformer.

Without this understanding from your teacher being fully comprehensively trained, and without the studio full of apparatus, you might simply be doing generic fitness exercises but on a Reformer- it’s nice, but i’s not Pilates. As a teacher, you shouldn’t be teaching from generic lesson plans. The Reformer is an individual workout, everyone is progressing at different rates and ways, so the workouts should be individual journeys. It’s about learning how journey in the Pilates system and using a Reformer as part of that…. one small part of the full Pilates system.

“I stopped going to group “Reformer Pilates” classes after I realized the 12+ people classes were so generic and ‘one size fits all’. The instructors were ‘instructors’ not teachers. We didn’t learn Pilates and develop, we were led through lesson plans that the instructors planed for everyone to do. Sometimes it was headstands on a reformer, sometimes it was lunges and squats, sometimes feel the burn, sometimes the Hundred but not till the end which I now know is not the Reformer order. I didn’t feel very unique, it felt like a Pilates conveyer belt!.”


Joe Pilates said his method was a system and a discipline. He’s right! You need to be disciplined to learn the exercises, to be patient with your progress, to layer up slowly, to work the full studio apparatus, to know what springs you need, to know if you need a sticky mat, is a long or short box needed, straps, extensions??

Some things to look out for
❓Do you know what the first exercise is?
❓Do you know how to get to the next one?
❓Could you take yourself through a workout or set up the basics.
❓Do you know what Reformer exercise aren’t great for your bad back, neck issue, osteoporosis, hip replacement?
❓ Does your Reformer class change constantly or do you stick to learning the order?
❓ Is your teacher Pilates fully comprehensively trained on all apparatus or trained to teach on the Reformer?

So…. To help YOU learn how to do Pilates in the basic exercises WITH the Reformer, and not just ON a Reformer, we have New Client packages that will introduce you to the full Pilates system (part of it is the Reformer)

BOOK HERE or call 01462 338002

Who’s ready to be reformed?!

Check out this great related blog post: Your or the Reformer: who is doing the work?

Share this article