15 Essential Pilates Reformer Exercises for Rapid Weight Loss

15 Essential Pilates Reformer Exercises for Rapid Weight Loss

Pilates Blog 11 minute read

The Pilates Reformer is a versatile piece of equipment that offers resistance training coupled with a full range of motion. For those keen on shedding weight, the Reformer provides a combination of strength training and calorie burn. Below are 15 top exercises on the Pilates Reformer that can kickstart your journey to a slimmer, more toned physique.

1. Footwork Series

Begin with the basics, warming up the entire body.

How to:

  • Start in a supine position.
  • Push through the balls of your feet to extend and retract the carriage.

2. The Hundred

An iconic Pilates exercise, perfect for abdominal engagement.

How to:

  • Lie down with arms straight by your side.
  • Lift your legs and pump your arms vigorously as you breathe.

3. Frog and Leg Circles

Ideal for toning thighs and improving hip flexibility.

How to:

  • Lie down with heels together and toes turned out.
  • Push the carriage out and draw circles with your legs.

4. Reformer Rowing

Targets the arms, shoulders, and upper back.

How to:

  • Sit upright, facing the footbar.
  • Hold the straps and mimic a rowing motion.

5. Stomach Massage Series

Engage the core while also working the quads and glutes.

How to:

  • Sit close to the footbar with knees bent.
  • Push out, extending the legs, and return.

6. Short Spine Massage

Focuses on spinal flexibility and hamstring lengthening.

How to:

  • Start with legs extended upwards.
  • Roll your spine off the carriage and then roll down.

7. Long Stretch Series

Strengthens the shoulders, arms, and core.

How to:

  • Begin in a plank position on the Reformer.
  • Push the carriage back and forth maintaining the plank.

8. Elephant

A classic exercise targeting the core, glutes, and hamstrings.

How to:

  • Stand on the Reformer with hands on the footbar.
  • Keep legs straight and push the carriage using your core.

9. Knee Stretches

Great for the quads, glutes, and abdominal muscles.

How to:

  • Kneel on the Reformer, hands on the footbar.
  • Push the carriage back and forth using your legs.

10. Running

Boosts cardiovascular endurance and tones calves.

How to:

  • Lie down and push the carriage out.
  • Alternate bending your knees in a running motion.

11. Pelvic Lift

Targets the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.

How to:

  • Lie down with feet hip-distance apart.
  • Lift the pelvis while pushing the carriage.

12. Chest Expansion

Enhances upper body strength and lung capacity.

How to:

  • Kneel facing the shoulder rests, holding the straps.
  • Pull the straps by your side, opening the chest.

13. Mermaid

Stretches the obliques and increases side flexibility.

How to:

  • Sit sideways, one foot against the shoulder rest.
  • Hold the other strap and stretch towards it.

14. Tendon Stretch

Strengthens the calves and increases ankle mobility.

How to:

  • Sit with feet on the footbar, holding the shoulder rests.
  • Push out and flex and point your feet.

15. Twist and Reach

Rotational exercise that works obliques and shoulders.

How to:

  • Sit sideways, holding one strap.
  • Rotate the torso, reaching the other arm overhead.

Reaping the Benefits for Weight Loss

Regular sessions incorporating these exercises can result in a considerable calorie burn, muscle toning, and an enhanced metabolic rate. To optimize weight loss, ensure a balanced diet and maintain consistency in your Pilates Reformer routines.


The Pilates Reformer offers a dynamic platform for weight loss, combining the benefits of resistance training and full-body workouts. With these 15 exercises, you're equipped to embark on a transformative journey towards a leaner, stronger version of yourself. Remember, weight loss is as much about dedication and consistency as it is about the right exercises.

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