Taking Pilates reformer exercise classes are fun and challenging.
You will be working against resistance on this particular piece of equipment. A good flow to the exercise is needed. You will start with footwork and work your way through more complicated movements and breath patterns. Your instructor may speed up the movement or slow it down. Either speeding up the movement or slowing it down will challenge you. Less resistance (with some movements) will also challenge your core to keep the carriage under control.
Find an instructor who will guide you in the basic principles such as neutral spine, breathing, and correct body positioning. Your instructor should be able to guide you with imprinted and neutral spine positions as you move from one exercise to the next. It is important to keep that spine supported when working against resistance. You will experience a huge difference in the level of difficulty with each exercise when you incorporate the correct breathing, body positioning, and engagement of your core. There is a lot to concentrate on!
Here is a picture of someone using the long box on top of the Pilates reformer. This is the plow exercise. Some of the muscles that are being used here are erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and teres major.
The box can be used for numerous exercises. Be careful when you climb on and off of the box. As with climbing onto your reformer, there is a right and a wrong way. Remember, the carriage moves.
If you are just moving forwards and backwards on the carriage with no real emphasis of the Pilates principles you are not getting the most out of your workout.
You can join a group or pay for private lessons. As always, it is probably better to have some private lessons before attempting a group session. You will be more confident when transitioning between exercises and you be able to move with the pace of the class. Some instructors will request that you are familiar with the reformer before taking a group class.
It does take a little while to become comfortable with your feet in the straps. You will also need to know the best position of the carriage for your height. If you have a reformer at home take a look at the adjustments that can be made. If you are in a studio the instructor can see if you are correctly aligned or not.