Contributor – Victoria, Pilates Instructor
Investing in a Foldable Pilates Reformer could be a good move if you’ve already tried Pilates Reformer and you want to save money on classes. A Foldable Pilates Reformer, by definition, is a Reformer that either close on top of themselves or extend out. This means that you can store your Reformer with more ease, as the full extension of a Reformer is a big machine!
Here we also consider 3 Foldable Reformers for you.
Firstly, Why Pilates?
In short, Pilates is the about alignment of the spine, strength of the deep torso and adnominal muscles, about using breath through the movement of positions and balance and flexibility.
“Pilates is the complete coordination of body, mind & spirit”
Joseph Hubertus Pilates is the creator of Pilates and created the original sequence of movements. He was well ahead of his time and wanted to share his Pilates moves with the rest of the world. In fact, the Pilates Reformer machines that we see today still very much look like and function like the original machine, developed by Joseph back in the 1920s.
Why consider a Foldable Reformer?
First off, you are interested in Pilates Reformer and you would like to be able to do it in the own comfort of your home and looking to save on buying studio classes. Studio classes are expensive and if you want to see results with Pilates you need to put in 2-3 classes per week. Pilates will give you results but getting on the machine is a must!
Here is a list of reasons why getting a home Pilates Reformer is a good move,
Saves money – on going to studio Reformer classes.
Home Comfort – do Reformer in the comfort of your home.
Settings – set your machine up as you like it.
Hygiene – nobody else sweating on your Reformer or others’ hands or feet on the foot bar or Reformer carriage.
Space – as they fold up you can save space at home by packing the machine away after each use.
Limitations of foldable Reformers
Now, if you are used to going to a studio and using ‘non-foldable’ Reformers, then don’t expect your foldable Reformer to be as smooth gliding up the carriage – it just won’t be. It will be a clunkier experience. However, Foldable Reformers are usually much cheaper than their ‘non-foldable’ counterparts, so they can be really good as starting machines.
Foldable machines aren’t hard to setup but you do need to set the machine up each time you put it away. Also, you’ll need some space to store it, in a wardrobe, under the bed, in the garage or spare room?
Although we think Foldable Reformers aren’t a bad option for getting started, our recommendation would always go for a full-sized Reformer that isn’t foldable, they are much sturdier and resilient, and especially if you have got used to studio Reformers, you could be a bit disappointed.
However, let’s look at some Home Reformer options if going for a Foldable Reformer is workable for you.
“A man is as young as his spinal column”
3 Foldable Pilates Reformers to use at Home – Review
1) Align Pilates F3 Folding Reformer Machine
Align is a good mid-brand Reformer. It comes with a full platform, foot bar, and quality upholstery. The Align Pilates F3 is a Reformer that you can look to purchase knowing you can do the full range of Pilates movements. It comes with additional accessories like the box and jump board.
What we like about the Align F3
4 Nickle springs (not bungee cords)
External foot bar – in the down position the foot bar comes right over the wooden platform, so you can stand on the platform, or comfortably put your hands on the platform without interference of the foot bar.
Good travel distance up the carriage – 97cm, which has increased from 95cm in previous models.
Double loop handles – longer loops for feet and shorter loops for hands.
Foldable! Not as strong as a fully framed Reformer.
Price – it’s more on the expensive side for Foldable Reformers, however, there is quality in the parts of the machine with the aluminum runners, upholstery, and quality straps.
Height – not a lot of height off the floor, which for some won’t be of concern but doing work both on/off the Reformer it can be advantageous with a bit more height.
2) AeroPilates 700 Pilates Reformer Machine
Three times less expensive than the Align F3 machine, the AeroPilates makes a good beginner’s choice in Foldable Reformers. This machine you’ll be able to do a considerable number of Reformer movements on but be aware that it does not have a moveable foot bar or foot platform.
What we like about the AeroPilates 700
Price – for under $1,000 this is a sound beginner’s foldable Reformer
Rebounder – if you are after a bit more of a cardio workout then for the price of the Reformer we give a nod to that you also get the rebounder.
Height – option to elevate the Reformer a bit further off the ground.
Bungee cords – are never as good as nickel springs that last much longer.
Clunkier up the carriageway – not as smooth as the Align A3 or other non-folding Reformers.
Foot bar & Foot Platform – no adjustable foot bar and no foot platform.
3) AeroPilates Precision Series 535 Pilates Reformer Machine
Again a beginner’s Foldable Pilates Reformer machine at ground level. If you aren’t looking to do too many creative exercises on the machine and are happy with a ground-level Reformer, this might be a good starting machine for you.
One advantage of the Precision Series 535 over the AeroPilates 700 is it comes with 4 steel springs, 2 yellow light springs, and 2 heavier blue springs. These springs will last longer than bungee springs. You still get the Rebounder which is slightly longer than the AeroPilates 700, at 90”.
What we like about the AeroPilates Precision Series 535
1) Steel springs – for the price we are happy they included steel springs rather than bungee springs.
2) Straps – still come with both feet and the smaller hand straps.
1) Clunkiness up the carriageway
2) Limitation of exercises – fixed foot bar without a foot platform.
Our Summary of foldable machines
If you are going for a Foldable Reformer, go for the Align Pilates F3 because of its superior quality. However, if you are more price-conscious, we would select the AeroPilates Precision Series 535 based on the better-quality spring set and longer carriage way.
There are also plenty of both paid and free Reformer online classes to get your going.
Good luck with your Pilates Journey, it’s one that you will reap the benefits of.
“Change happens through movement and movement heals”
If you are interested in reading more about Joesph Pilates, we recommend the book Caged Lion – Joseph Pilates & His Legacy by John Howard Steel; makes a very interesting read about his life and adds to further understanding of the beginnings of Pilates and how it has evolved.
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