The best Pilates moves that you can do without a reformer

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Pilates Blog

The Pilates reformer is a machine which is used for a more challenging and intense workout. It uses springs, straps, your body weight in addition to lots of moving parts as increased resistance when exercising. In short, it looks like some kind of torture device!

The reformer can be very intimidating for people who are trying out Pilates for the first time. However, you don’t need the reformer to reap the benefits of a Pilates workout. Using only your body weight and small props that you can find in your home can be equally as effective as the reformer.

While some people are comfortable with using a reformer during a Pilates workout, it is not possible to carry one around.

Here are some Pilates workouts which you can do that DON’T require a reformer:


The Bear can be performed as one complete workout or it can be divided into different exercises.

For the Bear, you will only need your own body and two paper plates.

  1. You start out in a planking position with the plates under your toes. Keep your wrist and shoulders aligned, pull your abs in towards your spine, flatten your back and press through your hands.

Hold this position for 30 seconds.

  1. Then, slide your feet in towards your hands using your lower abdominal muscles. When they can’t come in any closer, push them back out.

Your back and butt should stay as level as possible when doing this. Repeat this for another minute.

Rest for 30 seconds if you need to.

  1. In the planking position, pull your knees towards your stomach as you twist your hips to the right. Your feet should stay and move together. Try to reach your right armpit with your knees. When you can’t pull your knees in any more, push them back into the planking position.

Your butt should stay as level as possible when doing this. Repeat this for another minute.

Rest for 30 seconds if you need to.

  1. Switch sides so that you are twisting your hips to the left and tucking your knees into your left armpit. Repeat this for another minute while keeping your butt as level as possible.

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Toe Tap with Coordination

With this workout, you can combine the Toe Tap with the Press and Point (also known as Coordination). You can also do these separately.

You start lying face up with a neutral spine. Make sure there is a small space between your lower back and the floor. Bend your knees and then bring them up so that they are aligned with your hips.

  1. Lower one leg at a time and then tap your toes on the mat. Keep your spine neutral and repeat, alternating between legs.

Do 10 reps and return to starting position. Rest for 30 seconds if you need to.

  1. With your arms bent by your side and knees in the chair position, curl your head, neck and shoulders up from your lower ribs. At the same time, stretch your arms and legs out while bringing your legs apart slightly.

Pull back into the starting position and repeat eight times.

These Pilates exercises can be performed without the help of a reformer while providing the same benefits. They are easy, low impact and not intimidating at all. You can also take these workouts with you wherever you go.

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