The Pilates reformer is a traditional piece of Pilates equipment which looks like a bed with springs, a sliding carriage, ropes and pulleys. Conversely, as there are five springs, using only one or two of them can provide a gentler resistance depending on the exercise and the muscle being worked
Doing pilates on the reformer is a total-body exercise that recruits every muscle fiber in the body leading to a stronger core. It helps with joint stability and balance, and strengthens the abdominals, glutes and hamstrings. These support the spine and lengthen the hip flexors, which increase flexibility and improve posture.
Reformer Pilates was originally used to break down the flowing movements of the matwork to strengthen an individual and get them to a level to which they can do the matwork effectively but it has many more athletic and toning benefits than just this.
Many instructors use the reformer as a sport specific cross training tool. Reformer Pilates works on core stabilisation which is vital to any athlete as well as muscle endurance, lactate tolerance, peripheral joint stability, muscle strength, balance, co-ordination and much more.
Using the reformer is great for rehab purposes too as it allows the client to exercise in a horizontal plane of motion and not be vertically loaded and weight bearing through their legs. For example if a client has had knee surgery or a knee injury, this horizontal plane enables you to strengthen the muscles of the leg through a larger range of motion using a lighter resistance than their body weight, speeding up their recovery through controlled movement.