How to Maximize Your Pilates Reformer Workouts?

Mindless repetitions of his exercises were a massive turn-off for Joseph Pilates. Despite that, sometimes it feels that we must push ourselves with multiple sets for an effective workout. However, from the man himself, fewer well-crafted movements, which are properly performed with a balanced sequence, are more effective than spending hours on sloppy forced contortions. Pilates propagates achieving max power, strength, and stretch in addition to mastering control with every movement. What else can achieve all of this combined other than a Pilates reformer machine – as the machine pushes you towards zero tolerance for anything less than your personal best.

Pilates Reformer Machine and Exercise

Performing resistance-inducing Pilates exercises can be sneakily simple. It rings more accurately when doing Pilates on a mat, as it will only involve your body. The exercise intensity can be increased by going a tad slower with movements. How? – Focusing on muscle contraction, performing pulses at the end of range, taking less rest in between sets/exercises, and even making minor adjustments to your arms and legs for a proper technique.

Below is a list of a few effective techniques that can be combined to intensify your Pilates exercises. It is important to note that these techniques apply to most exercises, whether you use a mat or the Pilates reformer machine.

Slowing Movement

When you decrease the speed of your movement, it shall increase the time that your muscles will need to contract. Thus, making you work more with the same number of repetitions. As a rule of thumb, the bigger muscles shall do the work for completing the task when you move fast. But when done slowly, as the bigger muscles are known to tire/fatigue quickly, your body will put smaller muscles on the drive to help you complete the movement.

All of it combined shall make your exercise on the Pilates reformer machine much more challenging and fuller as you strengthen both fast-twitch (bigger) and slow-twitch (smaller) muscles. The good thing is that slowing down movements can be easily applied to all Pilates movements.

Utilizing a Smaller Range of Movements or Pulses

It is yet another way to make your workout more hard and rewarding. Find the most challenging angle to you and keep that angle – you can hold this position or even do small 2 to 4-inch pulsing movements. When done right, it will make your exercise challenging and even harder. Doing so will be effective for strengthening your full range.

Controlling Muscles

We are now on to a tad of tricky techniques, especially for beginners. Most Pilates practice newbies find the exercises too hard or too easy. One reason for finding these exercises easy is needing to learn how to engage the correct muscles effectively. Learning how to better engage the individual muscles of a particular exercise is advisable by giving them a firmer push to feel the contraction. The more you feel the muscles, the better your control over them while doing movements will be.

Taking Lesser Rests

The following technique is easy to guess. Sometimes you might unknowingly take breaks as you work on the details of your next exercises. It is important to stay true and remain precise with the movements. Equally important is to work continuously with little gaps for rest in between to achieve the most benefits of the workout.

You can try and practice the different individual exercises in a separate session – and work to master them. Finally, when it is time to work on the complete Pilates reformer machine routine, try to reduce the stopping, and correct the movement. Doing so will let you go from one exercise to another flowingly.

Switch Intensity of Workout Through Leg and Arm Angles

These exercises, whether you do them on the Pilates reformer machine itself or even a mat, remain bodyweight exercises. With the Pilates reformer machine, you can easily use the springs to introduce intensity to your workout. The core principle of adjusting bodyweight training intensity remains about leverages. It means that the harder your workout will be, the further your extremities come from the center.

Making the Most out of Proper Techniques

As far as the Pilates exercises and movements are concerned – the proper form keeps you safe and, in addition, makes your exercise more effective. One should, however, note that doing so will make their exercise even more intense. Keep working on your techniques, gradually perfecting them with individual movements – and you will discover that specific movements will become more intense. This also works well when exercising at a slower speed/pace. Try to feel the muscles required for the exercise and engage them in your movements.


There you have – top 6 techniques and tricks to maximize the efficiency of your Pilates workout. It is important to note that a Pilates reformer machine will help you intensify your workout even more. Additionally, when you join forces with the correct techniques – you are guaranteed to get an intense session, with having to make countless sets or repetitions.