Personal Wellness

What To Expect At Your First Pilates Reformer Class

Feb 25, 2020
Last Updated Jun 1, 2023

With all its different moving parts, there’s no doubt a Pilates reformer machine can look intimidating when you’re a first-timer. 

In a chat with Gympass, Blair Lucas, studio manager and instructor at Body Rock Pilatesin Houston, Texas, shared her tips for reformer rookies. Check them out below:

Wear clothes you’re comfortable really moving in

Before you pack your gym clothes for your reformer class, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to reach toward the ceiling with both your arms and legs, so loose-fitting clothes might not be the best choice. What’s most important is to wear gear you’re most comfortable in.

Many people go barefoot to do reformer Pilates, but some studios, including Body Rock Pilates, require their students to wear socks with grips during class (if they do, they’ll likely have them for sale). Lucas explained this is both for your safety and for hygienic reasons.

Keep in mind that not every reformer machine is the same

Whether this is your first Pilates reformer class or your 100th, if you’re going to a new studio, it’s a good idea to get there early to check out the reformer. There are several different versions of the machine with different features, so Lucas suggests giving yourself time to get a quick tutorial from your instructor.

Here are a few of the reformer parts and accessories you’ll likely encounter at your first class:

Expect a full-body workout

Reformer Pilates is a full-body workout that challenges you both physically and mentally. Lucas said to expect a blend of a few different workouts. It uses elements of different yoga posesand you are definitely getting some cardio in, even though your heart rate might not spike. It also includes moves designed to lengthen and strengthen your muscles. 

Embrace the fact that you’re learning

Lucas compared reformer Pilates to a game you probably played all the time as a kid.

“We’ll tell you, ‘Put your right foot forward, left foot back. Turn this direction. Hold on with this handle.’ It’s kind of like a game of ‘Twister,’” she said. 

She stressed that it’s OK to be a bit confused at first, especially if you’re a workout beginner. As long as you listen and try to follow along, you’re doing great.

“Everybody was a beginner at one point, even those of us who are instructors,” she said. 

From reformer rookies to Pilates pros, everyone can find an activity to love on Gympass. If your company offers Gympass, start your 7-day free trialto check out gyms and studios near you.

Feature image by antoniodiaz/



Gympass Editorial Team

The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.