Gear Review: Stamina Home Pilates Reformer

For my birthday this year, I was the lucky recipient of a modified home Pilates reformer. Though it's not quite the reformer you'll see in Pilates studios, it's equipped to give you the same kind of workout to strengthen your core and tone and lengthen muscles. I assembled it just this week and was amazed at how quickly I could get it together, with the help of my husband — you might need an extra set of hands to walk through the assembly, as instructions are a little tricky — but it came mostly put together and didn't take long, about 25 minutes to assemble the rest of it. It comes with a great manual on how to use the machine's different capabilities, complete with pictures, so if you need a little instruction, you've got it — and you're good to go.

To hear what I thought about using my new reformer, just read more

The reformer comes with standard straps with adjustable resistance for arm and leg functionality and, additionally, a trampoline attachment that can be used to substitute the standard foot bar for a cardio component. The machine feels supportive and strong, even while bouncing with the trampoline (like a soft jump board). It's comfortable and easy to use, and the adjustable resistance bands are easy to take in and out of place to change workout intensity. I did a pretty typical Pilates routine and was able to work all areas of my body as if I were in the studio for a full session.

The only real downside was putting the machine away. It's definitely on the heavy side, so even though it folds in half and locks in place, it's actually a little difficult to maneuver at first. But I do like that it folds for more convenient storage, and it's definitely still worth the convenience of having it in your own home. The version I have is the Stamina Pilates 4500 ($179.99, originally $349), and though the model with the trampoline attachment is currently unavailable, Stamina offers a wide range of home Pilates reformers that aren't terribly expensive, especially when you consider the cost of a single Pilates studio session.