How Do I Try A Pilates Reformer Workout For Beginners?

First of all, I need to answer the question… “What is a Pilates Reformer?” 

A Pilates Reformer is an exercise machine designed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. Sleek in design, the Pilates Reformer uses spring resistance with straps and pulleys and a movable carriage to challenge your entire body, especially your core. 

A Reformer offers hundreds of exercises for the Pilates Instructor to choose from to establish an individualized routine for you and your specific goals.

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Now let us answer the original question… “How do I try a Pilates Reformer workout for beginners?”

One of the first things to consider is to find a studio with a Certified Pilates Instructor. Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Programs have a minimum of 450 hours of training and test-outs. 

There are many individuals teaching Pilates out there that have not done the recommended hours of training. They should not be teaching Pilates to the public, especially beginners.

Next, ask yourself… “Am I injured?” 

Many people are referred to Pilates to help with their back pain, hip or knee pain, or neck and shoulder pain caused by poor slouching posture. Maybe your doctor told you about Pilates or a friend had success with Pilates helping solve their spinal pain.

This is where being a Pilates Physical Therapist comes in handy. As a Physical Therapist specializing in musculoskeletal injuries, having completed a comprehensive Pilates education, I know Pilates and understand the power of Pilates to heal injuries.

However, some injuries should be addressed by Physical Therapy first and followed up with Pilates Reformer workouts. Hands-on treatment, patient education, movement modifications, home exercise prescription, pain management education, and more are all incorporated as needed in physical therapy.

Pilates Reformer workouts are a great way to stay active and fit and allow you to move away from pain pills and avoid potential surgery. A healthy lifestyle is the goal.

Now some of you are not injured and have heard how Pilates can improve your athletic performance, dance, flexibility, core strength, balance, and so forth. You should start your Pilates Reformer workouts with a Certified Pilates Instructor

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Last question… “Should I start with group Pilates Reformer classes or private sessions?” 

As a beginner, I recommend you doing a few private sessions to learn about Pilates. It’s good to understand the breathing techniques and the equipment before jumping into a class and feeling like a fish out of water.

Many start in group Pilates Reformer classes without problems, but athleticism, coordination, fitness level, and many other things will play a role.


My name is Stephen Dunn, a Physical Therapist since 1998 and Pilates Instructor since 2002. Want to learn more about Pilates? 

Download my free guide titled: “The 10 Reasons Why You Should Do Pilates… And Why You Will Love It!” at this link