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Pilates Reformer Workout Plan PDF

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Jessica Brown
July 8, 2024 July 8, 2024
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Pilates workouts are all the hype right now with different types like classical pilates, mat pilates to reformer pilates. Lately, reformer Pilates has been gaining a fair bit of attention, especially on social media platforms. That is why we have created a Pilates reformer workout plan (pdf) just for you!

Whether you are new to pilates, a seasoned pilates practitioner, or starting out as a pilates instructor, this workout plan will take you through the fundamental exercises and equip you with the knowledge you need.

Key Takeaways

  • Reformer pilates is a type of workout that utilizes specialized equipment to offer resistance-based movements, effectively targeting multiple muscle groups.
  • The workout can be customized to suit individual fitness levels and goals, making it great for both beginners and advanced practitioners.
  • A step-by-step guide for each exercise is provided in each workout plan.
  • There are 3 workout plans with PDF in this article– Pilates Reformer Workout Plan 1 and 2 for beginners to advanced level and 15 Minutes Intermediate Pilates Reformer Workout Plan.
  • Reformer pilates targets multiple muscle groups and helps to improve overall fitness.

What is Reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates is a full-body workout that is designed to improve strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination and it is considered to be low-impact.

For reformer pilates, it utilizes a specialized piece of exercise equipment known as a reformer. It is a bed-like machine that can slide up and down, equipped with springs and various attachments. Generally, it provides support and resistance for the various exercise movements.

Benefits of Reformer Pilates

Some people may not find reformer pilates to be effective because it provides a ‘helping hand’ in comparison to mat pilates which uses body weight. In reality, reformer pilates can be as equally effective and offers a wide range of benefits.

Corrects muscle imbalance

Reformer pilates targets specific muscle groups, helping to correct any imbalances that may have developed over time. By strengthening weaker muscles and stretching tight ones, it promotes a more symmetrical and balanced physique, reducing the risk of injury.

Challenges balance and stability

The dynamic nature of exercises on the reformer challenges your balance and stability as you move the carriage against resistance. This engagement of core muscles not only improves balance but also enhances overall stability.

Improves flexibility

Through controlled movements and elongation of muscles, it helps increase the range of motion in the joints, improving overall flexibility and reducing the risk of stiffness and injury.

Low impact workout that prevents injuries

Unlike high-impact exercises, reformer pilates is gentle on the joints, making it suitable for individuals of all fitness levels and ages. It is also an ideal choice for those recovering from injuries and looking for a safe workout option.

Offers resistance

The adjustable springs on the reformer machine provide varying levels of resistance, allowing you to customize the intensity of your workout. This resistance challenges your muscles, promoting strength and endurance while also improving muscle tone and definition.

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Pilates Reformer Workout Plans with PDF

Here are some pilates reformer workout plans that includes a variety of movements. The first workout plan is suitable for beginners while the second workout plan is more suited for intermediate to advanced level practitioners.

Workout Plan 1

reformer workout plan 1

Warm-up (5-10 minutes)

  • Start with gentle movements to warm up the body, such as arm circles, leg swings, and spinal articulation.

Pilates Hundred

  • Lie on your back on the reformer carriage with knees bent, holding the straps in your hands
  • Lift your head and shoulders off the carriage and extend your legs to a 45-degree angle while pumping your arms up and down.
  • Breathe in for 5 counts and out for 5 counts, aiming for 100 pumps.

Leg Presses

  • Sit on the carriage with one foot on the foot bar and the other foot on the carriage.
  • Press the carriage away using the leg on the foot bar, keeping the other foot anchored.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps on each leg.

Plank-to-Pike

  • Start in a plank position with your feet on the footbar and hands on the shoulder blocks.
  • Pull the carriage in by lifting your hips up into a pike position.
  • Return to plank position and repeat for 8-10 reps.

Back Rowing

  • Sit facing the footbar with legs extended, holding the straps in your hands.
  • Pull the straps towards your ribs, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps.

Side Leg Series

  • Lie on your side on the carriage with the bottom leg extended and the top leg bent.
  • Perform a series of leg lifts, circles, and kicks to target the outer thigh and glutes.
  • Switch sides and repeat on the other side.

Cool Down and Stretch (5-10 minutes)

  • Finish with stretches to cool down and lengthen the muscles worked during the workout, focusing on hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders, and back.
  • Remember to adjust the resistance and repetitions based on your fitness level and listen to your body throughout the workout.

Workout Plan 2

reformer workout plan 2
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Double Leg Stretch

  • Lie on your back on the carriage, knees into chest, holding straps in hands.
  • Extend legs to a high diagonal, arms reaching overhead.
  • Circle arms around to hug knees back in, then extend legs away.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps.

Scissors

  • Lie on your back on the carriage, legs extended straight up to the ceiling, holding straps in hands.
  • Lower one leg down towards the footbar as the other leg stays lifted.
  • Switch legs, scissoring back and forth while maintaining core engagement.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps on each leg.

Bicycle

  • Lie on your back on the carriage, legs in tabletop position, hands behind head.
  • Extend one leg out while twisting towards the opposite knee.
  • Switch sides in a fluid and controlled motion, mimicking a bicycle pedaling motion.
  • Repeat for 16 reps.

Pilates Hundred

  • Lie on your back on the carriage, legs in tabletop position, holding straps in hands.
  • Lift head, neck, and shoulders off the carriage, arms pumping up and down.
  • Breathe in for 5 counts and out for 5 counts, aiming for 100 pumps.

Half Roll Back

  • Sit on the carriage with feet hip-width apart, holding straps in hands.
  • Round spine and slowly roll back, engaging core.
  • Roll back up to seated position, articulating through the spine.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps.

Spinal Balance

  • Kneel on the carriage facing the footbar, hands on footbar, one leg extended behind you.
  • Engage core and lift back leg to hip height, keeping hips square.
  • Hold for a few breaths, then switch sides.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps on each side.

Full Body Roll-Up

  • Lie on your back on the carriage, arms reaching overhead, legs extended.
  • Roll up to a seated position, reaching for toes.
  • Roll back down with control, articulating through the spine.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps.

Glute Bridge

  • Lie on your back on the carriage, feet on footbar, hips lifted into a bridge position.
  • Lower and lift hips, engaging glutes and hamstrings.
  • Hold at the top for a few breaths before lowering back down.
  • Repeat for 12-15 reps.

15-Minute Intermediate Reformer Workout Plan

15 minutes intermediate reformer workout plan

Here is a 15-minute intermediate reformer workout plan that is meant to be slightly more challenging.

Warm-Up (3 minutes)

  • Pelvic Curls: 10 reps
  • Arm Circles: 10 reps each direction

Core Strengthening (4 minutes)

  • Double Leg Stretch: 8-10 reps
  • Spinal Balance: 8-10 reps each side

Leg and Glute Toning (4 minutes)

  • Scissors: 8-10 reps each leg
  • Pilates Stance Single Leg Press: 8-10 reps each leg

Upper Body and Back Strengthening (4 minutes)

  • Rowing Series: 8-10 reps
  • Chest Expansion: 8-10 reps

Cool Down and Stretch (4 minutes)

  • Swan Prep: 3 reps
  • Mermaid Stretch: 30 seconds each side

Ensure that you choose a workout plan that is suitable for you and to not overexert yourself unnecessarily. You are encouraged to seek the advice of a pilates instructor before performing any of these exercises.

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Tips for Beginners to Reformer Pilates

If you are a beginner at reformer pilates, here are some tips that you may follow.

1. Start with basic exercises

Begin with foundational exercises that focus on core strength, stability, and a full body of awareness. These exercises help you understand and master the fundamental principles of Pilates, such as breathing, alignment, and control.

2. Practice Proper Breathing

Pilates emphasizes a lot on mindful breathing with movement. Learn to coordinate your breathing with the movements, typically inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Deep breathing will help you to focus better and form a mind-body connection.

3. Modify exercises accordingly

Don’t hesitate to modify the exercises according to your fitness level at the beginning. If you feel that you are unable to do a certain exercise, go ahead with a simpler alternative. Everyone starts off as a beginner so don’t feel shy about not being able to perform a movement exactly the same!

3 Advanced Exercise Modifications For Reformer Pilates

If you find that the workout plans here are too easy and you need more of a challenge, you can make some modifications to your exercises. Here are 3 advanced exercise modifications you can try.

Teaser on the Reformer

Try performing this intense exercise by having one leg extended straight up towards the ceiling while the other remains bent. As you roll up into the Teaser position, extend your arms forward and reach towards your extended leg, engaging your core and stabilizing muscles. Repeat on both sides, alternating between the left and right leg to ensure balanced muscle development.

Long Stretch Series with Push-Up on the Reformer

Elevate the challenge of the long stretch series by incorporating a push-up into the movement. Begin in the plank position with your hands on the foot bar and your body in a straight line. Perform a push-up by bending your elbows and lowering your chest towards the carriage, then press back up to the starting position.

Transition smoothly into the long stretch movement, engaging your core and leg muscles to control the carriage as you push it out and pull it back in.

Side Splits on the Reformer

This exercise ensures that you will develop better strength and flexibility. To perform this, start in a side-lying position with your left leg extended along the carriage and your right leg bent, foot pressing against the foot bar. Use your inner thigh muscles to push the carriage outwards, extending your left leg as far as comfortably possible. Maintain control as you draw the carriage back in, engaging the outer thigh and hip muscles. Repeat on the left side before switching to the right leg.

*Note: Only attempt these exercises if you have a strong foundation in Pilates and you have mastered the basics of these exercises to prevent any injuries.

Other Resources

If you liked this article, you may also like some of our other articles here:

Wall Pilates Workout

Mat Pilates Workout

Conclusion

Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, Reformer Pilates is an excellent workout to try. You are guaranteed to work up a sweat despite it being low-impact. In case, you are not ready for reformer pilates classes, there are wall pilates workout routines that you can try out on JustFit app for free and at the comforts of your own home!

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References  
Joseph Pilates. (1945). Return to Life Through Contrology. Available at: https://www.pilates.com/products/return-to-life-through-contrology [Accessed 21 Mar 2024].
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