Full Pilates Reformer Order and How To Do Each Exercise

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  • Author: lesley.logan
  • November 21, 2019
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Joseph Pilates’ classical order on the Reformer

Welcome to your full body Pilates workout on the Reformer with the entire classical order. I’m going to teach you Joseph Pilates’ order on the Reformer and how to do it right.

I’m Lesley Logan, I’m the co-founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com. I’ve been doing Pilates since 2005, teaching since 2008. One of my teachers was one of Joseph Pilates’ clients, and all the others I’ve trained with happen to train with Romana who also trained with Joseph Pilates. So I’ve got your full order here, trained and many years experience in it, you can use this to enjoy parts of it with me, you can watch the parts you don’t know, you can use this as a reference material. This workout is gonna be something I know you’re gonna come back to over and over again.

Before we get started, let’s talk about what the classical order even is. So what it means is that Joseph Pilates had an order on the Reformer and his clients would just come in, get on the Reformer and do their order, and they would omit the exercise they were not ready for. So what’s really amazing about Joseph Pilates’ order is once you know it, and you start to understand the exercises for your body, you can come and do your workout without actually having to go to a specific class at a set time. Each exercise is designed to warm you up for the next. You’ll see we’ll still always start with footwork. But the exercises towards the end are compounding exercises from those at the beginning. So you’ll really want to build yourself up. Now, when you’re a beginner, you won’t do all of this at the same time.

Pilates on the Reformer has an incredible flow

Pilates on the Reformer has an incredible flow from one exercise to the next. And, when you know what comes next you can feel how each exercise prepares you for what is to come. Again, you don’t need to do every exercise on the Reformer to do Pilates. Do what you can each time you hit your Reformer and feel free to omit what you are not ready for or replace an exercise with something that will prepare you for the one you are skipping. But, remember, if you don’t like a Pilates exercise you probably need it.

Follow Joseph Pilates’ orders and intentions

In our OPC membership, we always follow Joseph Pilates’ orders and intentions. We will remove exercises that are not part of a theme or part of the level that we’re teaching you at that time. If you’d like to have other materials that help you understand this order, I have a Reformer flashcards deck. We do have a card that has the entire order on it. All the cards are set up in an order so that the transition from one exercise to the next is included. And we even put transitions from an intermediate exercise to another intermediate exercise or to an advanced exercise, depending on the level that you’re ready for. So get that deck if you haven’t gotten it already. And finally, if you have any questions, comments, wonders worries about this workout, please put in the comments below.

If this looks like a lot don’t worry. Not every exercise is for everybody. And, some of these you may take years to get to. Also, several are easily omit-able. You don’t have to do all the backbends. You can pick one or two. Mermaid and Headstands are often omitted.

Classical Pilates Reformer Order

So, here is the Classical Pilates Reformer Order with tips on how to do them in the videos. Let’s get into it!

Pilates is a practice, not a perfect

Hook those handles, pat yourself on the back. Pilates is a practice, not a perfect. So do the best you can each time you hit your Reformer. If you need accountability and guidance, be sure to join the weekly online Reformer membership. Every single week we drop a new Reformer class on OPC. It’s 30 minutes, and every month we drop a 50 minute version. Each class has a theme. That theme goes with either the 30 Minute Mac class, or the other 50 minute classes. And the goal is for you to see how this method actually intertwines and weaves itself together. It is designed to help you be in practice, not in perfection.

Share your a-ha moments

We also have an amazing community, we can ask questions, share a-ha moments, get feedback on the equipment that you have, the setup that you’re using, the exercises that you’re doing, if they’re the ones for you, what your homework should be, and we help hold you accountable, which is better than I can say for any other platform that’s out there. You can have lots of access, but that accountability part is really hard – not to OPC we help you do that. So please do me a favor. If you really liked, go give our trial a try, check out us here and see if we are the right place for you. And again, questions, comments, you could put them below, but if you’re OPC member put them in the group, I answer them daily.

And, be sure to check out how the Mat exercises and their order support the Reformer ones here.

xx~LL

By lesley.logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with Lesley Logan.
Enjoying Lesley's teaching style? Willing to travel? Explore the world while maintaining your practice by joining Lesley on a Pilates retreat.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are “affiliate links”, a link with a special tracking code. This means if you click on an affiliate link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. The price of the item is the same whether it is an affiliate link or not. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers. By using the affiliate links, you are helping support our Website, and we genuinely appreciate your support. By watching this video, you agree to our Terms and Conditions, which you can read here:https://opc.me/tc

4 comments

  1. Hi Lesley,

    Thanks for responding to my question on IG. We met a cpl yrs ago at PMA when I was an Equinox Teacher Trainer. I now have started my own teacher training program in the DC area and am looking for coaching on how to be successful with this biz. I am so excited I have been invited to present at PMA this year and I am envisioning 2020 to be an extremely expansive year for my Pilates biz! Time is super squeezed for me (as for most people) with the many balls I have in motion and I am looking to connect with you and your community for purposeful support to grow to the next level of influence.

    What are my options with LL?

    Thanks!!!

    Mariah, owner of Insight Pilates
    @insightpilates

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pop up summer tour | online pilates classes

SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

I WANNA ROCK

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

When I first started teaching another teacher in the studio I was at who had 20+ years of teaching was struggling with her client. They kept wanting to lift their head to extend. In every exercise no matter what she said their head would lift before their chest. She said "the worst thing we ever did was call the neck the neck." Now, I don't think its the WORST thing. I have some thoughts on chairs and shoes. But, its up there! If you've been struggling with Swan, Swimming, Rocking and some of our other fun extension exercises this week is for you!

Grab a magic circle for a fun warm up on the Mat and Reformer. Don't have one? No problem I've got options for ya!

See ya in class,
xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Magic Circle and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Magic Circle and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.


UPTOWN FUNK

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Roll Up. Love it or leave it?

However you feel about it might change over the next week as we explore how to use our side waist and leg muscles to improve your Roll Up!!

It might seem like a funky way to improve your spinal movements, but by using different variations we’ll help you connect your legs to your center. And once you do that you can listen to your body and explore where you need to create more space or find more muscles!

By the way, if you took last fall’s BOOmerang class, you’ll absolutely LOVE the mat workout this week!!

Props Needed:
Mat: Grab a Barrel or Blanket
Reformer: Reformer box & Pole

See you in class,
Rachel

I DIP, YOU DIP, WE DIP

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

I happened to hear an oldy but a goody the other day. One that when it came out my parents for sure would not have wanted me to listen to. But, I was curious about the lyrics and found an old music video. And it made me think about how we often tell you about what to do with your hip points, tailbone and even the crest of your hip. So, for a long time, we've been asking you to dip as we dipped. Ok, maybe not as dramatic or even something you'd do on a dance floor. But for this week, we'll be focusing on our pelvis, where it is in space. So you can dip wherever you are whenever you want!

No props needed.

See ya in class,
xx-LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UPTOWN FUNK

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Roll Up. Love it or leave it?

However you feel about it might change over the next week as we explore how to use our side waist and leg muscles to improve your Roll Up!!

It might seem like a funky way to improve your spinal movements, but by using different variations we’ll help you connect your legs to your center. And once you do that you can listen to your body and explore where you need to create more space or find more muscles!

By the way, if you took last fall’s BOOmerang class, you’ll absolutely LOVE the mat workout this week!!

Mat: Grab a Barrel or Blanket
Reformer: Reformer box & Pole

See you in class,
Rachel

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, barrel or blanket and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, reformer box, pole and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.


I DIP, YOU DIP, WE DIP

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

I happened to hear an oldy but a goody the other day. One that when it came out my parents for sure would not have wanted me to listen to. But, I was curious about the lyrics and found an old music video. And it made me think about how we often tell you about what to do with your hip points, tailbone and even the crest of your hip. So, for a long time, we've been asking you to to dip as we dipped. Ok, maybe not as dramatic or even something you'd do on a dance floor. But for this week, we'll be focusing on our pelvis, where it is in space. So you can dip wherever you are whenever you want!

No props needed.

See you in class,
xx-LL 💋

FRENEMIES

Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

Hello, it's OPC Teacher Christine here! I used to get commended for my form and flexibility in any type of movement class I went to, even if it was my very first class. But what I struggled with was always hitting a plateau where I couldn't make progress or improvement. For me, that changed when I discovered the strength and control I found in practicing Pilates.

Getting on the apparatuses puts your body in a position where you find strength, stretch, and control through your center. I was unable to fold my body like origami anymore. One of the mat exercises - double leg stretch - is great for finding a strong center regardless of what the arms and legs are doing.

For this month, we'll explore using the concept of finding an inner lift of the belly away from the thighs to find a strength in our center, the two-way stretch of the limbs, while controlling the movement of the arms and legs whether they move away from center, or come back to center.

Mat class: Magic Circle and squishy ball

See you in class,

Christine

HIGH FIVE FOR ALL

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

In Pilates we often talk about the 5 spinal shapes… do you know them? No worries if you don’t yet as this month we’re going to explore them all! How tall, round, extended, rotated or bent from our sides that we can be gives us more power & control during exercise. Let’s see what we can feel when we put the focus on working toward these particular shapes… And, lookout for combo shapes!"

On the Reformer, please have a ball, Magic Circle and your pole. A couple of pillows and a Swiffer handle all make great substitutes!
Mat, Tower/Cadillac and Wunda Chair: No props needed.

See ya in class,
xx-LL 💋

CAN WE KICK IT?

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Side Kick Series and Kneeling Side Kicks are great full-body exercises that require a lot of connections from front to back and head to toe. In your classes this week we will work on the connection of our upper back, glute/Thass®, and abdominal strength to help with these exercises and see how your practice links together. Single leg work on the reformer as well as side body work will give you more information to help you in your Side Kicks. No props needed for this class.

See you in class,
Mindi

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.


I WANNA ROCK

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

When I first started teaching another teacher in the studio I was at who had 20+ years of teaching was struggling with her client. They kept wanting to lift their head to extend. In every exercise no matter what she said their head would lift before their chest. She said "the worst thing we ever did was call the neck the neck." Now, I don't think it's the WORST thing. I have some thoughts on chairs and shoes. But, its up there! If you've been struggling with Swan, Swimming, Rocking and some of our other fun extension exercises this week is for you!

Grab a magic circle for a fun warm up on the Mat and Reformer. Don't have one? No problem I've got options for ya!

See ya in class,
xx~LL 💋