Diet & Weight Magazine

Beginner’s Guide: Pilates Reformer

By Hblack79

This week has gone by fast, I can’t believe it’s already Thursday!  YIPPEE!!!!!  I have a busy two days before the weekend officially starts though, so let’s get moving on today’s topic!

Yesterday I mentioned that I would attend my very first Pilates Reformer class at my local gym.  First, let me just say how much I absolutely LOVED this class and it’s definitely on my top 5 list now (probably topping out at #1).  It was the most unique class I’d ever been to and it provided a lot of core work, which is something I desperately need.  I’ve never been good at working my core/abs.  Honestly, I have no core strength and therefore, absolutely hate working it out.  I’m not a fan of ab classes because sometimes they do moves that are not good for my lower back.

This hold gives me awful lower back pain and to top it off, I can barely even hold the pose so I’m not actually strengthening my core because maybe it’s too advanced for me, and it’s crushing my lower spine which already has a long list of issues on it’s own.

V-Sit Hold -


My first indication that I was going to thoroughly enjoy this class was when I realized my abs were being worked and it wasn’t killing my back to do it.  It also wasn’t a boring sit up or crunch either.  A Pilates Reformer class provides overall strengthening and stretching though.  I’ve never had such a good stretch in my life, not even with yoga.  Needless to say, I’m a huge fan and I want to share my beginner tips with you!

You may be thinking… geez Heather, you only went one time, what could you possibly have to share after one time?  I’ll be honest, I would have thought the same thing, but for a first timer, this class can be intimidating, it can be confusing, it can be HARD!  My thinking is, why not share my very first thoughts & experiences with the class for those who want to attend so they know what to expect on the VERY FIRST TIME.  Sure, I could have gone a hand full more times and gotten better acquainted with the workout, but my initial thoughts would have worn off by then.  I want to give it to you as if you’re going for your very first class too.


Beginner’s Guide: Pilates Reformer

1. Arrive early!

I showed up 20-25 minutes before the class.  That gave me enough time to find out where the class was being held, to get my machine set up, and to meet a few other people taking the class.  Arriving early calmed my nerves so I could really enjoy my first class.

2. Ask for Help

The first thing I did when I showed up at my gym is ask the front desk where the class was held.  Then told her it was my very first time taking the class.  She was so excited for me and joyfully walked me to the class and helped me get the machine set up properly as well as give me tips on how to change things if needed.  There are different springs that pull various weights, so make sure you know which is easy and hard so you can adjust properly throughout the class.

3. Let the Instructor know that it’s your first time too

Luckily for me, the front desk lady told the instructor it my first time so she made sure to be visible so she could show me how to perform certain moves and could easily correct my form.  She was extremely helpful throughout the class and constantly checked on me which gave me reassurance that I was doing it properly.

4. Stick to the basics

I wouldn’t try to over compensate on your first class.  Do exactly as the instructor says and do less if you’re more comfortable with it.  There was one move where you used a body bar to balance yourself.  The instructor said that if you felt more comfortable having the bar in front of you on the floor to keep you steady then you could do that, but the more advanced can take the body bar and put it on your shoulders.  I chose to stick with the beginner basics to ensure that I’m learning proper technique first, then as I get more comfortable with the workout, I’ll adjust my weights and difficulty.  I’m glad I stuck to the basics on my first class though so then I wasn’t concerned about doing too much, but I was focused on learning first.  This gave me more confidence in coming back because I know I can at least perform the basics if all else fails.

5. Don’t wear socks

You do a lot of sliding & moving around in the class.  I didn’t wear socks.  There are special sticky socks you can buy, similar to pure barre, but I wouldn’t suggest it on your first try.  The majority of the class were bare foot, so you won’t be singled out.  This way you can see if you like the class then determine if you want to purchase special socks for the class.   Now that I know how much I’m going to love it, I’ll be getting myself a pair of socks to wear in class!

6. Check with your gym on class registration/sign-up

Our gym schedule just said the class name, so I showed up and got settled.  Come to find out, you have to call ahead of time and reserve a spot in the class.  Luckily the class wasn’t full and there was no problem with me just showing up, but due to the size of the classes (we only had 8 machines in our room), my gym requires that you sign up for it.  You should check with your local gym and see if they have the same rule.  It was a little embarrassing to realize that I didn’t sign up and was supposed to, but they handled it really well and were very understanding of it being my first time and not knowing the rule.

7. Have fun!

Seriously, this class was a highlight to my day!  It was so unique, never boring, and a lot of fun.  Be sure to enjoy yourself throughout.  Don’t get frustrated when you can’t extend your leg as far as someone else and if you mess up or are confused, just let it go, and ask the instructor to explain it better.  I can guarantee that the instructor will be more than happy to help you along the way and correct your form as you go, so don’t be embarrassed if it’s not clicking on the first try.  Believe me, I had plenty of those throughout the class.  First and foremost, I had fun!  Bonus: I got a great workout in for the day and stretched out some serious tightness.

p.s. If you happen to get an instructor that seems annoyed with your need for help, then find another time that fits your schedule with a  different instructor.  I don’t imagine that being an issue, but just in case it is, don’t let that be the reason you never do Pilates Reformer.  I would think that the majority of instructors want to help as much as possible!

  • Do you have any Beginner Tips to add?

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