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Workshop: Starters' Reformer

Who is this Pilates Workshop for?

This is for anyone that is interested in finding out what Pilates & Reformer and Reformer Pilates is all about.

It’s perfect for first timers and those just starting on their Pilates journey.

Numbers are very limited.

It’s not suitable for you though if you are pregnant or have an acute injury.

What we'll be doing

In this workshop we’ll be looking at the Basic Reformer exercises on Reformer and how they connect to all the other apparatus. 

This isn’t a group class, or a full on workout, instead it’s a practical exploration of the Pilates System.

If you’re looking for Intermediate: click here


But first, a little about Pilates...

There is no such things as "Mat Pilates" or "Reformer Pilates"
... instead, it's a very elegant system of interconnections.

Modern marketing likes to have us think that “Mat Pilates” and “Reformer Pilates” are distinct things. But in reality, the Reformer teaches you how to do exercises on the Mat. And the Mat teaches your Reformer.

It’s all linked together, like a spider’s web, a thread, an interconnection.

There’s more.

The rest of the apparatus is there for two reasons:

  1. help achieve mastery of both Mat & Reformer and
  2. for individual needs

Choosing to do Reformer over Mat (or the other way around) is like taking a small slice of the pie and leaving the rest of the pie behind.

If there's no such things as "Mat Pilates" or "Reformer Pilates", what's it all about, then?
1. So, what's the difference between Pilates on Mat and on Reformer?

The Reformer gives us springs that work like supplementary muscles. On the Mat, you have to do everything yourself.

There are many exercises in common. But the different context: springs for support or no springs, changes the exercises.

2. It's all in a name - and in an apostrophe

Joseph Pilates called his System “Contrology”. That’s a much better name than “Pilates”. It helps us to perfectly understand what we’re doing: learning the science and art of control.

The republication of his book (1998) is called: “Pilates’ Return to Life through Contrology”. There’s a possessive apostrophe.

3. Everything in Pilates can be summarised in just one sentence

“Pilates is either mobilising the spine around stable limbs, or mobilising limbs around a stable spine…”

You can ignore the next part until you’re more advanced:

“…and the transitions in between.”

— Sean Gallagher

4. There are just three types of exercises in Pilates
  • Breathing exercises
  • Articulation (rolling and unrolling the spine)
  • Stabilising the spine


That’s it!

5. There's a "progression of difficulty" in Pilates

Pilates workouts start lying on our backs, progress to sitting up supported, then unsupported and later to standing.

Some people even start going upside down! That’s walking on their front legs.

What Pilates isn’t about is increasing either load or number of repetitions.  That’s physiotherapy or Personal Training.  Pilates works completely differently.

Here it is! What we'll be doing 🙂

This is the Foundations of all the other Reformer exercises
The actual contents of the workshop are omitted so that people don't copy.
At this level the emphasis is on the feet, legs and pelvis as well as lower back, glutes and abdominal muscles.
Intermediate adds more upper body and coordination and balance into the mix.


Footwork Tendon Stretch

One Hundred


Leg Circles

Stomach Massage: Round Back

Stomach Massage: Flat Back

Stomach Massage: Reach

Short Box: Round Back

Short Box: Flat Back

Short Box: Side to Side

Short Box: Twist

Short Box: Climb a Tree

Long Stretches: Elephant

Knees Stretches Round Back

Knee Stretches Flat Back

Knee Stretches Jack Rabbit


Pelvic Lift

Front Splits

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