We take five and chat to Kelcey Frey, a KX Pilates Instructors, about Pilates and specifically Reformer Pilates, and why everyone we know is subscribing to this form out fitness. 

If I'm new to the world of Pilates, how would you best describe it?

Pilates is a form of exercise targeted towards lengthening and strengthening every little muscle in your body.

It’s a combination of stretch, sweat and burn, I like to say, and it’s very malleable to suit every person!

It can be a complete cardio work out, full on strength session incorporating heaving springs/props or it can be gracefully slow and meditating, its also a great form of exercise to compliment other forms of training, so i would describe Pilates as an exercise chameleon!?

What are the benefits of reformer Pilates, in comparison to mat Pilates?

As I teach both mat work and reformer I have love for both forms.

They are very similar yet so different as both incorporate the Joseph Pilates method, however, I believe that reformer has more benefits from a rehab perspective and an all over workout perspective by using resistance training.

In saying that mat work can be extremely challenging but I find that it is easier to target specific muscle groups, workup a sweat or get a deeper stretch on a reformer.

The different springs allow you to easily change the tempo or loading for an exercise and the straps allow for a wide range of movement, plus the beds are little more comfortable than a mat on the floor. 

Is reformer Pilates suitable for people recovering from injury?

Absolutely! It is one of the best exercises to recover from an injury.

Of course its always recommended to see a Physio/GP to get the all clear before going to a group class environment and please make sure you let your instructor know exactly what’s going on with your body!

Pilates is so beneficial as it works on isolation patterns opposed to compound movements and it teaches you the proper muscle activation when moving your body. It builds a platform that is imperative to long-term health and overall strength.

I would recommend organising a few private lessons with your favourite instructor to properly recover/assess your injury before embarking on group classes. Always make you sure you listen to your body and never push too hard when recovering from an injury otherwise you will be back to square one in no time.

Which areas of the body does your class concentrate on? Would you define it as a 'total body' workout?


Definitely a “total body” workout, however I normally run with a theme such as inner thighs, glutes or abdominals, but I make sure every part the body receives a little love.

I love to make my client’s workup a sweat and leave the room feeling as though they have got their moneys worth. When I plan my classes I do things that I would like to work on my self such as: building the peach, developing abs and toning my arms, sometimes I get a bit jealous of them if I haven’t had the time to work out that day! 

How many classes a week would you recommend to really experience the full benefits of reformer?

This depends on your goals and of course what other forms of exercise you do.

If its purely aesthetic reasons I would say 3-4 classes per week combined with the proper nutrition and a walk or two per week. If its injury management or you have a regular gym schedule perhaps two classes per week.

It’s the same with everything you do, consistency is key and balance is always advised. You also have to love it to reap the full benefits of it, which I’m sure once you get started you will want to go as much as you can!

What is your favourite aspect of teaching reformer?

My favourite aspect would probably be the client relationships. Almost every class I have the same regulars, its so nice to see them progress their technique, improve their bodies and literally change their lives.

I have formed such a special bond with so many of my clients its almost like a second family. There’s always a lot of laughter (as well as complaining) throughout the classes and I love when they stop and chat after class! Sometimes I throw in an advanced move and they all hate me but when we revisit it and they find it a breeze they shock themselves and that feels great (for them and me).

How can pilates compliment our every day lives and activities?

Pilates is enjoyed by everyone from athletes to office workers for its ability to develop strength, correct posture and reduce pain in common areas such as hips/lower back, upper back and neck.

It aims to release the overactive areas such as chest, upper shoulders, thoracic spine and hip flexor muscles (as these are quite dominant) by strengthening the less dominant areas such as gluteal, transverse abdominals and shoulder stabilisers.

All of the above contributes to less pain, better posture and more functional movement of the body, making the simplest things like lifting boxes and walking pain free and easier. I see a lot of runners that have achy knees or tight traps that instantly feel a release after class or footballers that develop flexibility and core strength to office workers that learn to sit up straight!

If you had to choose one; Pilates or your go-to coffee order?

I actually don’t know how to answer this; I don’t think I could live without either!! Without Pilates I would be a grumpy mess and without coffee I don’t think I could do anything. Can I keep both?


Want to check it out for yourself? You can book in to one of Kelcey's classes at the new KX Pilates Subiaco studio, or their new Applecross Studio which has also just opened up here in WA.