Group Reformer Pilates Classes for Low Impact Workouts

Pilates is an exercise system invented by Joseph Pilates. The exercises focus on learning precise control of the human body, developing coordination and balance, and strengthening the core muscles of the body. Many of the exercises require the use of special exercise machines. The most widely used Pilates machine is called a Reformer.


A reformer looks kind of like a bed frame with extra bits attached. It has a carriage that rolls back and forth inside the frame. It has springs to provide an adjustable amount of resistance to movement of the carriage. It has shoulder blocks, a foot bar, and long straps with handles on them. The reformer is one of the most popular Pilates exercise machines because so many different exercises can be performed on it. Exercises can be performed in standing, lying, and sitting positions. All parts of the body can be trained and exercised on a reformer.

Benefits of Reformer Pilates

Pilates exercises using a reformer improve strength, flexibility, balance, and physical coordination. Unlike classical weight training that focuses on strengthening the muscles of the limbs, Reformer Pilates focuses on strengthening the all-important core muscles. In Pilates, the core muscles are referred to as “the powerhouse.” These are the muscles of the back and abdomen, the shoulders, and the buttocks.

Regular practitioners of Pilates develop flat abdomens, strong backs, and toned rears. In addition, students of Pilates develop good posture and learn how to move in a biomechanically correct way. Moving correctly not only looks graceful and effortless, it also helps prevent injuries and aches and pains.

Low Impact

Many people are nervous about trying a new regimen of physical fitness. Unfit people worry that they will be unable to perform even the easiest exercises, and therefore will fail and feel foolish. People who have old injuries or physical limitations worry that the new exercises will cause pain and harm. Some forms of physical fitness may suffer from these limitations. However, Pilates does not. It is a low-impact exercise that won’t make sore joints hurt. Each exercise can easily be modified to suit each individual student’s current needs.

Private Classes

Beginners to Pilates should take a few private Pilate classes to learn how to perform the various exercises on a reformer properly. Using correct form in Pilates is very important. In a private session, the instructor will guide the student’s body carefully through each exercise. Once a student has learned the exercises, he/she can join a group class.

Group Classes

Group classes tend to be more fun and motivating than private classes. There is a strong social aspect – people can attend with their friends, or they can make new friends at the class. Socializing can occur before and after class. Working through the exercises in the company of others motivates most people to work harder than when exercising alone. A group reformer Pilates class is a fun, social way to tone and improve the body.

If you’re interested in trying Mat Pilates or Reformer Pilates, Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee can help. We offer different classes and training programs to fit your health and fitness needs and goals. Stop by Zero Gravity Fitness today to talk to our fitness staff, and we’ll figure out the best Pilates program for you.

Pilates: Reformer vs Mat

Getting in shape is certainly not easy. But there are ways of getting in shape and having fun at the same time. Many people are able to master the art of toning their muscles and staying balanced with the practice of Pilates.

At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, we offer Pilates classes to help people get in shape without any high-intensity workouts or heavy weightlifting. Pilates is a great low-impact workout method that shapes long, lean muscles while still building strength, stability and flexibility. Contact Zero Gravity Fitness today to find out more about our Pilates classes, or stop by our fitness studio to speak to one of our staff members.

All about Pilates

Pilates is a practice that is similar to yoga but more intense. It was created and developed by a man named Joseph Pilates and is now practiced in gyms and medical spas throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

Two Different Types of Pilates: Reformer and Mat

The main promises of Pilates are always to benefit your core strength, help center your mind-body connection, increase your flexibility and build lean muscles where you want them. Many professional athletes and dancers swear by Pilates as a way to calm the spirit and get a good workout in at the same time. But when you’re new to Pilates, you may have some questions. One of these questions often concerns whether you should be sitting in a piece of reformer equipment or out on a yoga mat.

Pilates on the Mat

Pilates on the mat is certainly the most traditional of the options. When most people think of Pilates, they think of it being done on the mat. Certainly, this option can be great at getting you centered and toning your body. Many beginners start here because they can continue their practice at home or on-the-go without the need for an expensive reformer. You’ll also be able to learn how to control each part of your body better on your own if you start on the mat.

Pilates on the Reformer

On the other hand, Pilates on a reformer has some amazing benefits as well. Many people are quite intimidated by the look of a reformer, but it’s really a simple machine that can aid you in your practice. The device is made up of a sliding rack where you are positioned. It includes pulleys, straps, cables and bars for helping with different poses and movements. Resistance from pulleys and straps helps you strength train while the alignment of the device keeps you straight.

Which Style is Right for You?

If you are interested in learning more about Pilates on the mat, on the reformer or both, there are always classes available for anyone and everyone. The truth is, one of these Pilates styles is not better than the other.

If you’ve already had some experience with Pilates, you’ll be all set to start in an intermediate or advanced class, but if you are just beginning, don’t be intimidated. There are friendly beginner classes waiting for you in both of these forms of Pilates. As a side note, many people opt to start on a reformer with a few private lessons first. This gives them a taste for the device before they start in with a class.

Mat or Reformer? The First Pilates Question

Many times, when a new client comes to Zero Gravity, they ask a simple but critical question: What will work better for me – the Mat Pilates class or the Reformer class? Should I do both?

The answer is   . . . it depends.

Both forms of Pilates do amazing thing for your body. In Mat Pilates, you use your weight as resistance. It focuses on core strength, balance, and muscle and joint alignment. A Mat workout will get at every muscle in your body.

Reformer Plates does all of the above, but uses simple equipment, involving springs and pulleys, to assist you with the exercises and keep your body safe.

So how do you choose? Ideally, we recommend a consultation with one of our staff members to determine which of our classes and instruction models will work best for you. However, here are some basic principles to consider:

Reformer Class:

Reformer equipment offers many benefits. When you have the springs and the pulleys to assist you, finding your core and your balance is simpler. Clients often find Reformer to be a gentle starting place, although it can be seriously challenging once you get to level Four!

Many clients also prefer our Reformer classes because they are smaller (no larger than seven participants) and thus more individualized.

Consider starting with our Reformer class if you:

  • Are recovering from a specific injury or have a history of injury
  • Have a serious and / or chronic health issue, such as Fibromyalgia or arthritis
  • Have a specific spinal issue, such as scoliosis
  • Are overweight
  • Have a very specific goal in mind
  • Need more individualized attention to succeed

Mat Pilates:

As you can probably guess from its name, Mat Pilates is done on the floor, generally in larger groups, though class size should NEVER exceed fifteen. Although participants generally use their own body weight to perform the exercises, sometimes small equipment (balls, blocks, bands, chairs, etc) are used to assist or challenge the body.

Consider starting with our Mat Pilates class if you:

  • Are in good physical shape with no injuries or history of injuries
  • Have no serious or chronic health issues
  • Are a healthy weight
  • Do not need as much individual attention to succeed or to perform the exercises correctly
  • Can manage the added difficulty of working against gravity, without guidance from any apparatus

Regardless of which method you decide to begin with (or if you decide to use both), Pilates will give you the long, strong, lean body you always wanted. For class times see our schedule, and for details of our programs, please see these links to group classes and Reformer classes.

Zero Gravity Fitness