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What is a reformer?

What is a reformer?

A reformer is a Pilates apparatus that was designed by Joseph Pilates and is an amazingly elegant machine. The reformer provides finely tuned exercise resistance that allows one to work very precisely to develop good alignment, core strength, and flexibility. There are many different types of reformers.

At Love for Pilates we showcase Balanced Body equipment and use a more fitness based style of reformer called the Allegr0 2. All of our classes are performed on and around the reformer using various props and also a pilates apparatus called the Wunda Chair.


The height of the foot-bar is adjustable as well as the distance. There will be three- five notches on the side of the frame (depending on the reformer) that will allow you to adjust the height of the foot-bar. Your instructor will help you figure out which placement is best for you. The springs provide resistance from the machine. The rest of the resistance is provided by your own body weight. The springs hook on the spring bar, and different springs can be unhooked to increase or decrease the resistance. The springs are color coded and on our machines, yellow is the lightest spring, then blue, then red being the heaviest. Many levels of resistance are achieved through varying combinations of the springs.

The carriage is the part you put your body on and moves by pushing against the foot bar, or by pulling the straps or ropes at the other end of the reformer. The carriage glides back and forth along the inside of the frame, responding to the effort you exert and the amount of resistance set up by the springs. Reformer exercises can be done lying down, sitting, kneeling or standing on the carriage.

Your instructor will tell you exact set up instructions for each individual exercise and which springs to use. It is advised to take a Reformer Level 1 or Reformer Stretch & Sculpt class if you are new to Pilates or the reformer.

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