Take Class Like a Pilates Pro By Learning the Top 5 Mistakes on the Reformer

Pilates on a reformer is different than other classs. No matter what your level, you should avoid making the most common mistakes on the reformer.

So you’ve bought the Groupon and finally signed up for that Pilates reformer class you’ve heard so much about. A lot of Pilates fanatics say that once you get on a reformer, you won’t go back to the mat. But you have to know how to avoid the top mistakes on the reformer to get the benefits of it.

In some respects, the reformer allows a little more resistance in all the right places and assists your body against gravity. In others, it can be more challenging than a mat, forcing your body to work in the correct position. Neither the mat or the reformer is better than the other, but there are some safety tips that you should take note of before hopping onto a machine.

There are many beneficial stretches you can do on the reformer, but mistakes can happen if you are not careful. When beginners get on a reformer for the first time, it could cause an injury or two. Mistakes on the reformer happen, and we want to protect you from hurting yourself in the future!

Here are the top mistakes that happen on the reformer.

5.) Putting Both Feet in the Straps at Once

one foot on the strap


Have you ever tried to put your pants on both legs at once? Of course not. Then think the same of putting your feet in the straps.

With one foot on the platform or foot bar, secure the other foot in the straps. Keeping tension on that secured foot, feel free to secure the remaining leg. A good rule of thumb for a lot of things is to do it one foot at a time.

If you tend to sweat during a workout, think about investing in a grip or grip socks when using the foot bar. The grip pad can provide more comfort and security on a reformer. When making a complicated move, it will make you feel confident in your movements.

4.) Slamming the Carriage to the Stopper

dont slam the carrier

OSTILL is Franck Camhi/Shutterstock

When you stretch a rubber band, it snaps back, right? The springs on the reformer act like rubber bands. If you don’t use your muscles to resist the springs, they will snap the carriage back.

When the carriage snaps back, it crashes into the stopper and makes a loud sound. Everyone will look at you, and the instructor will remind the class to resist the springs. Not only is it not good for you, the person on the machine, but it’s also not the best for the machine either.

Even if you have been a skilled Pilates goer, using a reformer requires a new skill set. It’s an entire system, so it’s for the best to start with beginning movements, especially when you are on the carriage. It will give you a solid foundation on how to use a reformer in the future so that you can start doing more advanced moves.

3.) Not Stepping on the Platform First for Standing Positions

standing on the reformer

Flamingo Images/Shutterstock

When you first start working with the reformer, you might feel like an elephant on a conveyer belt. Standing up on top of the moving object always adds a bit more excitement!

Don’t make it a daredevil move and remember this simple rule: Never put a foot on the carriage unless the other is on the platform. The platform doesn’t move, and the carriage does. Find your balance on the stationary part of the machine before testing it on the mobile one.

If you are a beginner or advanced at Pilates, it still can test your stability, especially when you are trying to stand. When you focus on your transition on the reformer, be deliberate with your movements.

If you are uncomfortable on the reformer and trying to stand, ask a friend to spot you. There is no shame asking for helping while you build up control. This will make a fun time bonding with them!

2.) Not Keeping One Spring on When Switching Spring Tension

controlling spring


This is a common mistake for newbies. Usually, you are sitting on the carriage (the part of the machine that moves) when you switch springs between exercises. The springs are holding the carriage in place. If there aren’t any springs, it will move wherever it wants. If you’re sitting on it, you’ll get a surprise ride and a little embarrassment!

When switching between springs, place one on before you take the other off.

There are many parts of the Pilates reformer there are attached springs. When you tense getting on the reformer, springs will help your body do movements that you would not have been able to do otherwise. Springs will give you feedback and create resistance to help your body in the space.

Also, springs will give your muscles an excellent workout. But load springs on a reformer are serious. Make sure the springs have enough slack before letting go, changing your position, or stepping off completely.

1.) Not Making Sure the Foot Bar Is Locked in Place

footbar locked into place


Depending on the type of machine or class, people can easily drop the foot bar into position without realizing it’s not locked. If you place your feet on the foot bar, you could slam your ankles down and wrench your back.

If you’re doing an exercise with your hands on the foot bar, you could go face first into it if it’s not in place.

Do You Make These Mistakes on a Reformer?

If it’s your first class on the reformer, don’t be afraid of it. It might scare you at the moment, but if you are consistent, the rewards are great.

You can create a routine that will inspire a great Pilates warm-up. You’ll be transitioning between exercises like a pro in no time. Pilates with a reformer will often challenge you because it will work every muscle in your body.

If it is done correctly and often, it will help you move in so many ways. When you are doing Pilates with a reformer, you should not feel any discomfort. If you do, stop immediately. Wait until the next day to complete the workout.

There are more ways to do Pilates. Click the next button to learn more about jumpboard classes.

top 5 mistakes on the reformer