Have you decided to invest in a Pilates reformer machine?
Are you still on the fence?
Regardless of where you stand on your decision-making process, this guide is a must-read for people looking to give Pilates a try. When you start your initial research online, your Google search will land you a massive array of varying reformer machines and brands. But where do you even start?
Considerations for Buying a Pilates Reformer Machine
Investing in a Pilates reformer machine needs user-specific research. You should look for various things while choosing reformer machines, as these are relatively expensive, so you must ensure that your purchase is worth the while. For this post, we will break down the steps to choose a reformer machine – first off:
Identify your Needs
The first step in choosing a Pilates reformer machine is identifying your needs. Let us explain, if you happen to be an aspiring Pilates instructor, then you will need a studio-grade reformer that comes with different adjustments and is adjustable. Furthermore, if you have health concerns, underlying issues, or motion limitations, you might also need an adjustable reformer.
What's more, having more attachments and accessories will make workouts engaging and robust for advance level practitioners. Besides, if you are a less experienced practitioner or on a tight budget, you might not even need all the accessories.
Prioritizing Adjustable Features
Having an adjustable reformer is essential, as mentioned in the previous step. This rings more true, especially when you are an aspiring practitioner or have a limitation of motion. Below are some components which need to be adjustable in a Pilates reformer machine:
- Foot bar
- Shoulder Rests
Shoulder and Head Rest
The shoulder and headrests have a meaningful application of supporting your back, shoulders, and neck. Both must offer maximum stability to your body and be highly comfortable. People with neck and back injuries benefit greatly from adjustable shoulder and headrests.
The foot bars facilitate spring resistance at the beginning of every exercise. The more adjustability your foot bar offers, the more adjustable it will be to varying body sizes and varying ranges of motion. If your body is inflexible, or if you have had knee injuries/surgery, an adjustable foot bar offers you the correct angle and support.
Decide on a Budget
After locking in your requirements, you must now identify the budget parameters. It is where you decide how much you are willing to spend on a Pilates reformer machine. The average reformer can go anywhere between $400 to $8000 (for higher-end models). We understand this is a relatively wide range; however, it is worth noting that the higher the price point goes, the higher your machine's quality will be. Plus, you will be getting more accessories as the price range increases. Once again, your set of requirements will drive your decision here too.
Capitalizing your Space
Before getting your heart set on a particular machine, you must consider space availability in your studio/house/apartment. Most reformer machines range from 80 to 100 inches long and 20-30 inches wide. It is essential to measure your space beforehand. There are some options for Pilates reformer machines that are foldable. These might be a good option if you need more space or want to use your available space for other activities.
Quality of Frame
A sturdy and quality frame for a Pilates reformer machine is a must. For reformer machines, some frames are made from wood, while others are metal. Therefore it is important to do your research before choosing your machine. A less expensive reformer might seem tempting with tons of accessory options – however, if its frame is not good, you won't be able to use your machine for a long time. Check for reviews and ensure others had no issues with your selected model beforehand.
Opt for a Suitable Resistance System
Some reformer machines use cords for their resistance systems; however, finding a machine with springs is advisable. This is because the springs are more robust and indicate a high-quality reformer. As a buyer, you must also check how heavy the springs are and how many of these come with a reformer. Most machines come with 4 to 5 springs with different degrees of difficulty.
As aspiring instructors, one should consider a machine with more springs, as it facilitates adjustment to varying skill levels and body types. Additionally, if you or your clients suffer from injuries, it will be difficult to go as heavy; thus, getting a machine with more springs will offer you an amplified workout session.
In addition, if your springs are not super heavy, then stronger and heavier people won't be able to squeeze a better workout owing to the maxed-out springs. Ideally, the more springs your Pilates machine has, the better it will be for a workout. However, if a machine meeting your budget only has a few springs, ensure those offer the right resistance level.
The choice of a suitable Pilates reformer machine depends on your requirements, budget, and space availability. Therefore, it is important to take all considerations above deeply before taking a plunge. Remember, reformer machines are not cheap, so you must go for a machine that is usable in the longer run.