The Main Benefits of Pilates Reformer Machines

To the uninitiated, a Pilates reformer likely looks like some sort of torture device. However, when used correctly, this unique device has incredible benefits for flexibility, strength, endurance, and general health. Below, listed in no particular order, are some of the benefits of Pilates reformer machines.

two women doing a workout routine on a Pilates reformer in a studio

1. Improved Posture

One of the main benefits of Pilates reformer work is the fact that the reformer can improve your posture. One of the main ways it does this is through improving the alignment of your spine.

Because the reformer requires your body to stabilize itself while working against resistance, it targets your deep back muscles. This strengthens them and makes it easier to stand upright.

Another way the Pilates reformer improves posture is through spinal articulation, which means moving through your back’s full range of motion one vertebra at a time. This improves spinal flexibility, which in turn may reduce chronic pain and improve your posture while standing or sitting.

2. Stronger Bones

You may have heard that impact-heavy work can improve your bone density. But what if, due to osteoporosis or other health concerns, you can’t perform high-impact work?

One of the primary benefits of Pilates reformer workouts is the fact that they can strengthen bones and improve bone density without the need for high-impact work.

When your bones have to resist an outside force, this stimulates the production of new bones, which increases your bone density. Due to the fact that the cables of the reformer work against your body, this machine offers a reliable way to build bone strength and reduce your risk of fractures.

3. Better Core Strength

It was noted above that one of the benefits of Pilates reformer machines is their ability to strengthen bones. But these machines also can boost muscular strength. In particular, regular work on a Pilates reformer may help build core strength.

Because your body must work to stabilize itself while working against resistance, the reformer is equipped to improve your functional core strength.

One of the reformer’s main benefits for strengthening the core is its versatility. While most exercise machines only allow for a single movement to be performed, the reformer offers plenty of options. When using it, you can perform exercises standing, sitting, kneeling, or lying down.

When you combine this with the fact that the reformer offers multiple exercise attachments, you have the option of performing hundreds of exercises for your core.

two young women during a leg exercise on a Pilates reformer

4. A Slender Physique

While Pilates work does not necessarily “lengthen” your muscles, it does create the illusion of a slender physique through improving posture and range of motion. And because this workout can improve strength without adding mass, it is a popular choice for those who want to build strength without building a larger physique.

Of course, in order to achieve a slim physique, it’s necessary to eat healthfully and in moderation. But regular reformer work also may help you work toward the physique you’ve always wanted.

5. Scalable Intensity

Whether you choose to take a Pilates class at a gym or use guided videos at home with your own reformer, a good thing about this type of exercise is the fact that it allows you to scale the intensity.

This means that a Pilates reformer can be adjusted to create a challenging workout for everyone – whether you are new to exercise or are already in shape.

If you are new to Pilates in general or to the use of the reformer, it may be beneficial to take a few classes before striking out on your own. An experienced instructor can show you the best way to adjust the reformer to suit your exercise needs.

6. You Can Exercise Alone or in a Group

The above point brings us to one of the other benefits of Pilates reformer work – the reformer may be used alone or in a group. Group classes are a popular way to build camaraderie while also getting a good workout.

But some individuals may prefer exercising alone. If you prefer, you may purchase your own at-home reformer to use alone or with guided workout videos.

two young women doing a full body exercise on Pilates reformers in a studio

7. A Low-Impact Workout

Whether you have a bad knee, are prone to injury, or are recovering from a fracture, life circumstances sometimes mean that you need to avoid high-impact exercise. Thankfully, one of the main benefits of Pilates reformer workouts is the fact that they don’t involve heavy impact.

As explained above, thanks to the resistance of the reformer, this type of Pilates still can give you a great workout. But if you find yourself needing to avoid heavy impact work temporarily or permanently, the reformer offers a challenging workout that’s easier on your bones and joints.

8. An Improved Range of Motion

Many people say that one of the main benefits of Pilates reformer work is the fact that it “lengthens” your muscles. While this is not actually true, Pilates does create the illusion of longer muscles through improving your range of motion.

You may wonder how this is possible. But because it relies on cables, which apply tension to your arms and legs, the reformer essentially pulls you through a full range of motion. Many people have old patterns of movement that become habitual.

For example, maybe you won’t usually extend your arms all the way over your head. But when you work with a reformer, the machine gently encourages you to perform each movement fully. This can improve your posture, general movement patterns, and flexibility.

Let’s Recap

In conclusion, while it might seem somewhat non-traditional, exercising with a Pilates reformer has the potential to drastically improve your life.

Whether you want to strengthen your bones, stand up a little taller or just achieve full-body strength, the benefits of Pilates reformer exercises offer something for every user. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for a reformer class or one-on-one instruction, and see for yourself!

Image sources: 1, 2, 3

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