Is Reformer Pilates Worth It?

We are going to break down the pros and cons of reformer pilates classes in London, what reformer pilates is and the benefits that reformer pilates classes have to offer. So, a quick Google of ‘Reformer Pilates’ would have brought you here. Before you reached us, you may have come across images of machines that resemble torture contraptions, but take it from a longtime exercise-phobe, it’s not half as hard as it seems – and it might just spark a new lifelong obsession. The best reformer pilates classes promise greater flexibility, strength and stamina – and yes, everybody’s welcome.

Restore your confidence & vitality!

Being confident in your body isn’t about how you look it’s about how you feel, and Reformer Pilates is all about moving better, feeling stronger and building confidence in your own body.

 feel young


 escape stress

 gain confidence

Repair & Restore

 restore vitality

What The Best Reformer Pilates Classes Have To Offer

1. Practice Means Perfect

Like any other sport or discipline, you must practice becoming better at Pilates. I’d say to start twice a week to get to grips with the apparatus and get oriented with the workings of the reformer machine. But then, the more you can practice the better you will become.

Pilates is laced with technical terms and movement choreography which at the start can seem daunting. But in time, as you become more familiar with the Pilates method, you’ll be moving using the deepest muscles of the mind and body that you didn’t even know you had.

2. Breathwork is a priority

Holding your breath is a common mistake. Breath is one of the six Pilates core principles and we encourage breath with the movement. Breathing is proven to help engage the deeper abdominal muscles, and lower blood pressure, and it helps to bring one’s focus from the mind to the body.

3. Pilates is suitable for all

Pilates is for anybody and everybody – and the reformer doesn’t discriminate; it’s there to help us all. Make a booking at a pilates studio near you. When deciding between our reformer pilates studios you can browse our instructors and possible booking times available for booking. We offer a range of reformer classes from Bootcamp pilates, to classical pilates and our beginners class.

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Why You Should Use A Pilates Reformer

The reformer method was first developed by Joseph Pilates during WW1 when he attached apparatus to hospital beds to help train and rebalance the muscles and joints of those who were injured and bedbound. Now far more glamorous but based on the same principles, the modern souped-up reformer machine is the secret behind the toned, lean and lithe bodies we have long envied – that LA yummy mummy physique that seems totally effortless and unattainable, but is actually the result of many hours spent ‘reforming’ the body in a local pilates studio.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to reformer pilates is that in 10 sessions you will start to feel the difference. In 20 sessions you will start to see the difference. And in only 30 sessions will you have a whole new body. The famous and influential – from Margot Robbie to Meghan Markle – swear by the body conditioning benefits of reformer Pilates (where the mind-body discipline is performed on specialist equipment, allowing for a more dynamic, and/or targeted workout). But the practice is for all, whatever your physique or fitness ability.

That you need to be in shape to do reformer Pilates is not true, the philosophy of reformer pilates is to build a strong powerhouse or core and then progress outwards.

This makes reformer Pilates a great place to start in the world of studio workouts. 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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+ invite a friend for FREE

If you’re interested in trying Reformer Pilates then please come along and enjoy a class with us for just £10, and you can invite a friend to attend with you for FREE.

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Can Beginners Do Reformer Pilates?

Absolutely. There’s no need to start with Mat Pilates. The Pilates Reformer is one of the most effective and adaptable pieces of exercise equipment available anywhere, which means it can be set up to meet the specific needs of a wide group of clients – anyone from an absolute beginner who’s new to Pilates and/or exercise, to the most advanced hardcore Pilates practitioner.

How Easy Is It To Learn Reformer Pilates?

While the Pilates Reformer can look intimidating, it’s actually a simple and easy-to-use piece of exercise equipment. Similarly, Pilates moves are not complicated in themselves, but they do need to be performed properly, with the correct technique, focus and precision. The best way to learn Reformer Pilates is to attend classes or 1-1 sessions with a qualified Reformer Pilates instructor. They will help you understand how the Reformer works, help you master the basic techniques and exercises that underpin all Pilates practice, and guide and support you as you progress.

Why Come?

If you’re new to Pilates or haven’t exercised for a while, we have the class for you. While it’s still a workout, our personal training classes also focus on getting you familiar with the Reformer and on practising the techniques you’ll need to isolate muscle groups and activate them correctly.

If it’s your first class, you should make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes early. This is to allow you enough time to complete our registration form and meet the Trainer. Please be aware that if you have not done this before the class starts, you may not be able to train.

Is Reformer Or Mat Pilates Right For Me?

Reformer Pilates helps to tone our muscles and feel stronger in a short period as compared to mat Pilates. But the two forms of training cannot be compared as mat training is the foundation for learning to control the muscles while reformer training is for resistance to improve strength. A basic level of fitness is helpful, but not essential. Beginners’ classes are open to everyone. Both types of pilates focus on breathing, meditation and mindfulness. Reformer enthusiasts swear by their pilates apparatus and tension techniques. Both improve your fitness level and help with your mind-body connection with a great workout.

What will it be like?

You’ll be introduced to the equipment, techniques and some of the basic exercises that underpin our classes. The focus is on understanding how the core muscles work, learning to activate them correctly, and beginning to improve your general strength, flexibility and posture.

Whilst these are introductory classes, and less intense than some of our other classes, we’ll still make sure you challenge your muscles and get those all-important endorphins flowing.

You will get hot, so wear clothes that allow you to move easily and stay cool. You won’t need shoes – but you will need to wear Pilates socks (if you don’t have any, don’t worry – they’re available to buy at Reception).

What Is a Pilates Reformer?

The reformer was invented by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates. It is a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it, called the carriage, which rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame. The carriage is attached to one end of the reformer by a set of springs.

Springs provide choices of differing levels of resistance as the carriage is pushed or pulled along the frame.

The carriage has shoulder blocks on it that keep practitioners from sliding off the end of the reformer as they push or pull the carriage.

At the spring end of the reformer, there is an adjustable bar called a footbar. The footbar can be used by the feet or hands as a practitioner moves the carriage. The reformer also has long straps with handles on them that are attached to the top end of the frame.

They can be pulled with legs or arms to move the carriage as well. Body weight and resistance of the springs are what make the carriage more or less difficult to move. Reformers’ parts are adjustable for differing body sizes and different levels of skill.

There is probably no piece of Pilates equipment more famous than the Pilates reformer—and for good reasons. The reformer makes a dramatic impression when you first see one, and an even more dramatic change in your body when you use it.

You will see reformers lined up in Pilates studios as reformer classes are usually one of the main choices offered. Portable reformers are also popular as home exercise equipment. What makes the reformer so special? First, take a look at what a reformer is and how it works, then explore the benefits a reformer might have for your body.

How a Reformer Is Used?

A wide variety of exercises are done on the reformer to promote length, strength, flexibility, and balance.1 Most Pilates reformer exercises have to do with pushing or pulling the carriage or holding the carriage steady during an exercise as it is pulled on by the springs.

One of the best things about the reformer is its versatility. Exercises can be done lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the straps, pushing the footbar, perched on the ​footbar, perched on the shoulder blocks, with additional equipment, upside down, sideways, and all kinds of variations.

The reformer can train many parts and dynamics of the body in many different ways with just one relatively sleek piece of equipment.

There are many, many reformer exercises, including those for beginners and those that challenge the most advanced practitioners. For example, there are beginner Pilates reformer workouts and intermediate Pilates reformer rowing exercise workouts.

Benefits of Reformer Pilates Classes

The Pilates reformer is an amazing piece of apparatus like no other, which helps you to find length and space in the body while under spring tension. Far from just a workout for your core, this piece of apparatus helps create internal pressure to elongate the spine, joints and muscles which then leads to greater flexibility, strength, stamina and a more balanced posture.

This type of physical and mental workout is even more relevant now due to lifestyle factors such as long working days, being seated for long periods of time, and mental health aspects, to name just a few.

You’ll find out what makes Chilli Pilates classes so addictive and effective, and how to use our Reformer equipment. The faster you become confident with the equipment and techniques, the sooner you’ll start seeing the benefits of your training.

You’ll also start building up your core strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance, so that when you move up to the intermediate and advanced levels, you’ll find the experience easier and more enjoyable, and the workout more effective.

The reformer offers all the benefits of Pilates including increasing overall strength, improving fitness levels, flexibility, coordination, and balance. These things, in turn, lead to daily life improvements like better posture, graceful and efficient movement, and for many, relief from the pain associated with physical imbalances such as back pain.

1. Accesses A Variety of Muscles

The Pilates powerhouse muscles—the muscles of the core—are paramount for building whole-body strength. Strong abs, backs, buttocks, and thighs are all results of this emphasis. Other equipments and Pilates mat exercises do that too, but the reformer creates a unique and varied exercise environment.

2. Works on Flexibility and Strength

The reformer is large enough to accommodate full-range motion, which is wonderful for increasing flexibility while building strength. It seems to invite the length you want to create in the body and trains the body to sustain that length. Our expert trainers will help you improve your fitness.

3. Offers Resistance and a Variety

Pushing and pulling with legs or arms against the resistance of the springs, carriage, and body weight is generally strength-building. The exercises provide enough resistance and movement variety to help build strong bones. And there are a special feature—eccentric muscle contractions. This is when a muscle lengthens as it resists a force.

4. Challenges Balance and Stability

The instability of a rolling carriage with the springs set at different levels of resistance provides all kinds of stability challenges that develop core strength and promote better balance. For example, having less of the body on the carriage is one of the ways Pilates exercises get harder.

The reformer’s set-up for eccentric contraction is one of the keys to achieving the long, strong muscles without bulk for which Pilates is known.

It means more body weight has to be supported by the practitioner, and the body and machine have to be controlled even more from the core. Paradoxically, when the springs are in a lighter setting, some exercises are more challenging for the core because it has to work harder to control and stabilize the movement. The stronger the core, the better the balance, posture, and overall well-being.

Exercising with the reformer is possible for anyone, at any level of fitness. It’s no wonder the full name of the reformer is the universal reformer.


1. Go to classes or 1-1 sessions with a qualified Reformer Pilates instructor. Don’t try and teach yourself from a book or video.

2. When you’re doing a standing/kneeling Reformer exercise, always step onto the standing platform first – not the carriage.

3. Pilates is all about technique, and if you find an exercise surprisingly easy, you’re probably doing it wrong.

4. No matter how strong or gym-fit you are, you’re likely to struggle at first. This is normal – you’re working muscles you probably haven’t used before.

5. A slower approach is better. It’s easier to do an exercise fast, but often that means you’re using momentum rather than strength. The slower you move, the better your technique has to be, the more effective the exercise will be and the less the risk of injury.

6. Expect your instructor to put their hands on you from time to time. It’s the most effective way for them to correct your form or posture and make sure you’re set up to get the maximum benefit from your session.

7. If you want to see benefits, frequency is key. If you train 3 times a week, you’ll be amazed at how fast you progress.

8. Know when to stop. Don’t be tempted to keep going until you can’t do more rep. Technique fails before muscles do, and that‘s how injuries happen.

9. Instead, keep going until you can’t do another rep without losing your form or technique. Then shake it out, and if necessary reset it, and go again.

10. If you find yourself shaking during a hold. Don’t worry. It’s supposed to happen. That’s what hard-working muscles do.

11. Don’t worry about what the person on the next reformer is doing. The only person you’re in competition with is yourself.

Frequently asked questions

It does vary dependent on which studio you are attending, but the maximum class capacity will range from 10-13 attendees.

Just your normal exercise clothing, anything you feel comfortable in and have a full range of movement. Socks are mandatory and we recommend ‘grippy’ socks to really aid your performance. Chilli Pilates ‘grippy’ socks can be purchase in studio.

Yes, our classes are suitable for all fitness and experience levels. Throughout every class the instructor will adjust exercises and offer regressions or progressions to make the workout easier or harder to suit your specific ability.

You have to be 18 years old to attend classes with us (if you are 16-17 years old you can attend but must be accompanied by an adult). We have no maximum age limit, if you are able to get up and down from the ground unassisted and have a good range of mobility the classes can be adjusted to accommodate you.

This depends on the severity of the injury, but prior to arriving for your first class you will complete a Online Health Questionnaire to highlight any existing injuries or medical conditions. This will be reviewed by your instructor and if necessary they may recommend a 1 on 1 workout instead, if the instructor is happy for you to attend they will adjust the workout to accommodate you.

Yes, but instead of attending our group classes you will need to attend 1 on 1 Pilates session with one of our instructors. If you have experience in Reformer Pilates your instructor may then advise that you can transition into group classes. NOTE: we don’t recommend attending while you’re in your first trimester

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