Tried & Tested - Pilates Reformer

3 min read

I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the Pilates Reformer room at The Residence Spa at Park Circus, I was more than a little apprehensive.

The machines looked terrifying. Nuts and bolts and leather straps. What had I let myself in for?

However, I did think that anything that looked liked it belonged in 50 Shades Of Grey must be able to whip my body into shape.599510_508451432523782_1727262638_n


Before I began the hour long class on the Reformer, our instructor talked everyone through the machines, explaining what each nut, bolt and leather strap did and how we were going to use them.

Developed by Joseph Pilates himself, the machines are designed to help users meet the goals of the method – strengthened muscles and a symmetrical and revitalised body.

You don’t need to be a Pilates expert to use the Reformer – in fact the machines were designed to get participants strong enough to be able to do the more common mat work.

I had only done a little Pilates mat work before I took part in the class.


The class began with us lying on our backs and doing some simple leg exercises with our feet on the metal bar at the end of the machine.

As the hour moved on, we moved on to more difficult poses using the arm and leg straps.

As with traditional Pilates, position is key – our instructor continuously moved around the room helping everyone readjust their bodies.

Different exercises including lying on our backs with our legs in the straps (not the most dignified look in the world), mimicing the breast stroke, the straps providing resistance to make our legs work harder.

One of the things I enjoyed most during the class were the stretches – the legs straps pushed me in a position that stretched the muscles all down the back of my calf and hamstring like never before – bliss.

Another more difficult exercise was a traditional squat on top of the machine, our feet on two moving sections, making it more difficult to maintain balance.


Which is the beauty of the Reformer – it forces your body to work while providing support, unlike mat Pilates which is entirely your job.

Lisa Jones, Education Manager at The Residence Spa and a Pilates instructor for 11 years, said there are many benefits from the machine.

“The Reformer is great for people with sports injuries, older people with osteoporosis, women who have just had a baby – really, anyone can benefit from using the machine.

“I’d love to get more guys using it as men often have tighter muscles which the Reformer can help with.
“The machine is excellent for strengthening muscles and forcing them to work properly.”

Reformer Big Deal

If you fancy giving it a try, we’ve got a 5pm Big Deal offering 72% off classes:

£32 instead of up to £77 for a Choice of 2 Luxury Treatments & Cream Tea with Prosecco at The Residence; a saving of up to 58%. Option 2: £42 instead of up to £152 for 3 Pilates Reformer Classes, 2 Luxury Treatments, Cream Tea & Prosecco; a saving of up to 72%

Read more about the Residence Spa’s Big Deal here.