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Reformer: Is it really Pilates Reformer?

The interesting thing about Pilates is that each piece of equipment comes with its own style and

quirks, as well as pros and cons. The reformer is no different. Like all of the equipment Pilates

instructors work on, the reformer can be good for everybody. It's a versatile machine that's great

for all body types, sizes, and ailments. But it's also important to remember that it was designed

with classical Pilates in mind. Veering from that intended path can lead to the machine being

misused and the client receiving subpar results.

More than any other piece of equipment he created, Joseph Pilates designed the reformer to be

used in a sequence. Classical instructors are trained in this strict system of exercises that is not to 

be deviated from. The order of the exercises was carefully thought out to maximize the

rerformer's intended purpose, which is to strengthen the clients for their mat practice. That

maxim is ultimately how the reformer should be approached: with Pilates mat in mind as the

intended result.

That's not to say that every exercise in the routine needs to be performed. Because the reformer

works against tension from the feet up and the shoulders down, clients with acute pain will want

to be careful when using the machine. Educated instructors should be aware of what exercises

could help or harm a client, and those exercises should be omitted from the sequence. This can

be done while the order of the remaining exercises remains intact. This is true for the reformer

more so than any other piece of equipment, even with injuries taken into account. With the right

instructor modifying the exercise to get the most out of a workout, there is nothing quite like the

reformer that can prepare the body for an excellent mat practice.

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