The Pilates Reformer is a piece of apparatus designed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920's.
There are over 500 exercises that can be performed on the Pilates Reformer, so although this is a bulky piece of equipment, for the devotee with space and money, it can make a fantastic addition to your home workouts.
Although the complex system of springs, straps and pulleys catches the eye, it is the gliding platform which is the heart of the Pilates Reformer.
This is a very versatile piece of equipment on which you can sit, kneel, stand or lie on front, back or side. From these various positions you push and pull using the arms, legs, wrists and ankles to slide back and forth along the rails in a controlled manner.
With your torso stable, the variable tension in the springs gently works your peripheral limbs through a full range of motion.
Overall this is an effective, joint-friendly, no-impact stretching and toning workout that lengthens and strengthens muscles without building bulk.
Over the years this has become a fixture in studios, and is also found in many rehabilitation clinics, spas, health clubs, and other fitness facilities. It is also increasingly found in private homes as people choose to practice in the privacy of their own home.
Top manufacturers include Balanced Body, Gratz Pilates, Peak Pilates and Stott Pilates. Prices range from around ?1500 to over ?4000, so be wary of ?200 machines - they just won't do the job.