Is Reformer Pilates Good For Weight Loss? What You Need to Know

Is Reformer Pilates Good For Weight Loss? What You Need to Know

Reformer Pilates, more commonly known as the Athletic Reformer, stands out as a transformative approach to fitness. It skillfully combines strength, flexibility and balance in every movement.

Unlike traditional Mat Pilates, Reformer Pilates introduces resistance using its specialised spring-based equipment. It helps sculpt and tone muscles while also improving posture and stability.

Without the harsh impact on joints typical of high-intensity exercises, you might wonder "Is Reformer Pilates good for weight loss?" In this guide, we delve into Reformer Pilates and its potential role in promoting weight loss. 

What is Reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates is a low-impact exercise that uses an apparatus called the Reformer. This piece of equipment resembles a bed frame and features a versatile setup, including adjustable springs, a movable carriage, ropes and pulleys. 

The Reformer's design allows for customised resistance and movement, accommodating various body sizes and fitness levels. This makes it suitable for beginners through to the advanced user. The range of exercises lets you target specific muscle groups and enhance overall health.

Is Pilates Reformer good for weight loss?

Absolutely! The Pilates Reformer provides a comprehensive full-body workout. For instance, exercises like the "Rowing Series" engage the shoulders and back while footwork and leg circles effectively strengthen the hips and leg muscles. 

Other movements such as simple bicep curls and hugs, tone the arms while in the Pilates exercise, Mermaid stretches the sides of the torso. Reformer Pilates diversifies workouts by engaging every part of the body, ensuring a holistic approach to fitness and weight management.

Although Reformer Pilates isn't a cardio workout, it effectively boosts your metabolic rate by building lean muscle mass. The exercises engage muscles, bones and joints, raising your body's energy needs and increasing calorie burn. Note that the addition of a Jump Board to the Reformer can rapidly increase the cardio potential in Pilates.

Mat vs Reformer Pilates

Mat Pilates emphasises body control and fluid movements. It primarily uses body weight for resistance and is performed on the floor using a mat for cushioning. 

Key exercises in Mat Pilates include the Hundred, Roll-Up, single and double leg stretches. Each exercise is structured to engage the "powerhouse" area: the hips, abdominals, lower back and buttocks. 

In contrast, Reformer Pilates offers a broader range of motion, making it dynamic and challenging.  The Reformer is used to build strength and function so that an individual can perform the challenging Mat Pilates series of exercises. The Reformer's adjustable design allows you to tailor exercises to specific intensity levels and fitness goals, making it ideal for anyone looking to deepen their practice.

Best Pilates Reformer exercises for weight loss

1. Hundreds

Hundreds is a dynamic exercise that focuses on strengthening the powerhouse, provides circulation of the blood throughout the body and increases endurance.

  • Begin by lying on your back in a supine position, with your shoulders secured against the blocks and your feet in a tabletop position (knees bent at 90 degrees to the hips). 
  • Hands are in the straps and arms are raised to the ceiling.
  • Curl the head forward and stay curled as you bring the arms down by the side of the body and pump them up and down about an inch from the carriage.
  • Inhale for 5 pumps of the arms and exhale for 5 pumps of the arms. This is one set, and the aim is to do 10 sets.
  • Carefully return to the starting position and then rest.

The repeated movements keep your heart rate elevated and increase the total amount of energy your body uses during the session.

2. Rowing

This Pilates Reformer exercise for weight loss tones and strengthens the shoulders. It requires the coordinated movement of the arms, upper back and core. 

  • Sit on the Reformer's carriage facing the pulley risers, with your legs stretched out straight through the shoulder pads. 
  • Place the hands in the strap with the arms raised at 90 degrees to the shoulders and the palms turned towards the face.
  • Sit tall on the sitz bones and lengthen through the back. Then, begin to roll back, starting at the hips, keeping the arms at a 90-degree angle throughout the hinge back, drawing in the core muscles to support the back as you roll down.
  • Once you get to about a 45-degree angle of the torso, slowly raise your arms to the ceiling and then draw in the abdominal muscles as you roll the torso back up to the start position. Keep the shoulders away from the ears, but engage the shoulder muscles of the shoulder blades to help lift the body up to the start position, as the strap adds resistance.

Be sure to keep your core activated throughout the rowing series to maintain stability, protect the lower back and build the powerhouse.

Experience the benefits of Reformer Pilates for weight loss

With the right technique and form, performing Reformer Pilates for weight loss can lead to life-changing results. 

To ensure optimal progress, be sure to combine it with a balanced diet and other forms of exercise. Cardiovascular activities like running, walking, cycling or swimming enhance Pilates' toning and strengthening benefits by increasing heart rate and boosting calorie burn. This combination supports more efficient weight loss and promotes overall health and wellness.

At Pilates Reformers Australia, we provide a range of equipment and accessories to help you achieve your fitness goals. From home Reformer machines to hand weights, booty and resistance bands, we’ve got you covered.

Browse our selection and start your journey to a stronger, healthier you!