Is Reformer Pilates Good for Beginners?


Posted By: Pamela Toy

Pilates reformers are great for beginners, but it is recommended to take a class or a private lesson first to ensure you are using the proper form.

The Reformer allows for a much more versatile workout in comparison to mat training. It is a lot more beginner-friendly than the mat because you can adjust the resistance levels through the springs.

The ability to change the resistance levels is not only great for beginners, but for experienced students as well. Beginner students will probably want to use less resistance to ensure they are using the proper form. As students become more proficient over time, they can increase the amount of resistance.

On the Mat, there are specific props you can use, but it can be difficult because you have to support your entire body weight. Whereas the Reformer provides assistance, which can help students to maintain proper posture and alignment throughout their Pilates exercises.

Additionally, if you have a limited range of motion, the Reformer is a lot more forgiving than mat workouts and the versatility allows you to work around them.

Mistakes to avoid as a Beginner


Some of the most common mistakes I come across when working with beginners is they will hold their breath in, or they try to go too heavy too soon.

It will come over time, but just try to relax and make a conscious effort to breathe during each rep.

Students who try to use too much resistance can risk getting injured as they don’t have the proper form down yet. Pilates is all about using controlled slow movements to lengthen your muscles. If you need to use less resistance in order to maintain a steady flow, there is absolutely no shame in that.

Reformer Modifications for Beginners


Most Pilates Reformers have adjustable footbar and shoulder rests to suit your needs. Some people may be more flexible than others, so make sure to adjust the footbar accordingly.

The shoulder rests should also adjust to maximize your comfort depending on the width of your shoulders.

Beginner Reformer Exercises to Try


While we recommend taking a class or a private with a certified instructor, here are some beginner-friendly exercises you can try.

The Reformer Footwork

Here is a fantastic video created by Pilates Anytime that shows various Footwork exercises:


The Hundred on the Reformer

The Hundred is a fantastic ab workout. The video below by Kristi Cooper shows exactly how the exercise should be performed on a Reformer.


Leg Circles

Another amazing exercise to try is leg circles. This is by far one of the best exercises for hip mobility as it helps to stretch the adductors and hamstring.

Check out this video by John Garey below:


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