Comparing Springboard and Reformer machines

Springboards are becoming more and more popular. They’re more affordable and they take up less space than bigger pieces of equipment.

What’s the appeal? And how is it different from the other major piece of resistance equipment: the Reformer.

Even though both the Reformer and Springboard use spring resistance, the feeling—and the effects—can be very different. Here’s why:

  • Each limb works independently on the Springboard

The springs on a reformer are attached to the carriage. So even if you use both limbs they still pull the one carriage on the reformer. However with a Springboard, each limb works with its own spring. That means each limb works independently.
This adds a significant coordination challenge—for the brain and for the body! It also makes the Springboard a great tool for working on imbalances.

  • The springs are placed differently

On the Reformer, the springs are below the body and pull the carriage. However, on the Springboard, the springs are directly in front or behind the body (depending on whether you face the board or face away from it). There’s nothing between the body and the springs. The pull is more direct.

  • A lot of the work is “open-chain” and less stable

On the Springboard, there is no foot bar to press against like on the Reformer, so clients often find they have to work harder to stabilize and balance. Clients feel the effects really quickly often find that they get stronger quite quickly.

  • The Springboard offers less support

The Reformer carriage offers support for the body. With the Springboard, there is no extra support for the body. There’s just you and the springs! Working on the Springboard therefore requires more integrated control and body strength—another reason that clients love the feel factor that the Springboard offers.

Bottom line: Preference for the Reformer or Springboard is a personal matter. Many like both. In any event, clients love the feel, the challenge and the fun of working with resistance in a new way on the Springboard.

Tell us about your experience

Tell us about your experience working with the Springboard—individually, with clients, or in a class setting.


Jane Aronovitch

Jane Aronovitch

Jane Aronovitch is a Pilates & Movement teacher. She is also a writer and author. Her book, Get on it: BOSU Balance Trainer, is available at Body Harmonics, Amazon and Chapters Indigo.

“I love making ideas clear so teachers can directly apply what they learn in concrete and practical ways – and people can make connections, feel better, move with ease, and have fun.”

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