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Flexia Pilates Reformer Review

Reviewed.com logo Reviewed.com 6 days ago Alison Kotch
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Post-pandemic, Pilates is having a moment as a workout of choice: A 2021 survey by ClassPass found that pilates ranked fourth among in-studio fitness classes people were eager to return to. But what if you’re not ready to return to the studio at all? That’s where the $3,500 Flexia pilates reformer, the Peloton of home pilates machines, may come in. Developed by a mechanical engineer who wanted to reinvent pilates via on-demand classes and interactive technology, the streamlined machine promises results in a sleek package. I got a chance to try it out upon launch—and now I want to own one myself.

The Flexia Reformer is an expensive yet worthwhile investment for pilates devotees who want to attend classes regularly from the comfort of home.

What is the Flexia Pilates Smart Reformer?

Flexia was founded in 2020 by Kaleen Canevari, a Sacramento-based pilates teacher who began her career in 2014 as an engineer at Balanced Body, where her focus was equipment design. Canevari then began teaching in local studios and started her own company, Fit Reformer, where she specialized in pilates equipment care. After working with different brands and types of equipment as a technician, as well as teaching people in-studio, she noticed a recurring issue. “[Clients] would ask, ‘How can I do more reformer pilates outside the studio?'” Canevari says. “We’d work together to find the right routine and instructions, but nothing ever stuck or made sense.” Adjustments were a challenge, as well as a way to track tangible improvements.

While Peloton and NordicTrack offers exercise bikes and treadmills with streaming classes and that track tangible stats to indicate fitness improvement, no one was offering such connected equipment to make pilates devotees feel like they were making progress outside the studio. Canevari began working to develop Flexia as a way to stay motivated while practicing mindful movement. Billing itself as the first connected, at-home pilates studio powered with AI feedback, Flexia has three goals in mind: It allows you to enjoy a premium reformer experience at home, provides an effective, low-impact workout, and delivers a virtual, interactive community experience via its studio membership.

Unlike some other machines that require you to purchase accessories separately, Flexia includes all accessories and add-ons needed for your workouts. The wooden frame has a sturdy standing platform and padded foot strap that allows for easy adjustment to accommodate athletes from 5 feet tall to 6 feet 6 inches tall and up to 350 pounds. It also includes a padded sitting box, spring bars, and shoulder rests for facilitating different pilates exercises comfortably.

But the most attractive feature is that Flexia collects and stores your workout data in your membership profile. AI sensors provide a virtual analysis of your muscle control and strength during the exercises, which calculates a Movement Quality Score (MQS) to guide you during future workouts. Other at-home machines might provide an attractive app-based setup but don’t provide personalized workouts or as much of a custom fit.

Flexia doesn’t have a built-in screen to stream workouts, a decision that was intentional on Canevari’s part. “Putting a screen in a fixed position on the pilates reformer can cause problems: It’s not visible, and can get in the way during movements,” she says. Instead, you creating an account via Flexia’s website to access its library of classes and track your progress and from there you may stream workouts to your smart TV, phone, laptop, or tablet; one of those smaller devices can be mounted on a tripod near the machine for easier viewing.

How much does Flexia cost?

At $3,495, the Flexia Reformer’s equipment price is on par—or even a bargain—compared with other high-end home pilates machines ReformRX, and the Studio Reformer, which both retail for about $5,000.

Flexia’s membership fee of $39 a month is the same as what ReformRX charges for its classes (for its part, Studio Reformer doesn’t currently charge for its class access). With Flexia, you can enjoy self-guided workouts without paying for membership, but you won’t get the full experience and probably won’t see as much progress, as your workouts can’t be tracked and logged for analysis.

Like most large exercise equipment, you’ll also have to pay for shipping: For the standard delivery fee of $250, the Flexia team will deliver the unit during a timeframe of your choosing, but you’re on your own to assemble it, using an instructional video and the included tools. For an additional $200, you can opt for “white-glove” delivery, which includes assembly.

How I tested the Flexia Reformer

Despite having been an avid runner who appreciated the occasional spin class, I fell in love with an array of low-impact exercises like yoga, barre, and pilates during the pandemic and haven’t had much desire to revert to my old cardio-heavy routine. I’ve tried a couple of studio reformer workouts in the past and loved them for flexibility and cross-training but always balked when it came to committing to a membership that would require frequent studio visits (and, ahem, more money), to really help me get flexible, see tangible strength results, and ultimately brag about my “body by pilates.”

After listening to friends who have the Balanced Body reformer rave about the convenience factor for an afternoon pick-me-up stretch, I decided to test the Flexia to see if its unit is all style, or the promised combo of aesthetics and functionality. As the product is brand-new, I made an appointment to try it out in lower Manhattan, a short train ride from my Brooklyn home.

What I like about the Flexia Reformer

The plentiful workouts offer endless choices

Flexia offers a seemingly endless library of workouts and that your monthly membership allows you to add additional users at no extra cost. There are six categories of on-machine workouts that can be filtered and saved so you can easily view your progress and scale up the intensity as you get stronger. These include 10-minute quick stretches, traditional hour-long pilates strengthening sessions, and HIIT combo classes that have you doing exercises both on and off the Flexia.

The subscription also includes off-reformer workouts that you can do on their own or in sequence with a machine workout, such as HIIT, yoga, meditation, and mat-based stretching. As with other connected fitness programs, you may opt to connect with a community of other devotees for motivation and inspiration. In my testing, I chose one of the easiest classes to get a feel for the machine and its functionality, yet I still found it to be a great workout. It felt awesome to use the reformer so I could stretch more deeply than I normally can, and I couldn't wait to try a more advanced session focused on muscle-building.

The machine can accommodate a range of abilities and body types

If you’re anything like me, you probably aren’t flexible enough (or at least, you think you aren’t). Don’t let that scare you from trying the Flexia. The spring-based functionality is easy to operate, making me feel comfortable, confident, and without the occasional anxiety I usually feel when klutzily repositioning myself during studio workouts. I’m naturally slender and of average height, so I was able to use the machine without adjusting the default settings. However, curvier athletes will love that they can adjust their settings so they can practice comfortably without adding additional stress, or scrunching to fit into uncomfortable positions.


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The AI-powered dashboard tracks metrics and offers insights

Because reformers like Flexia’s use spring-based resistance to help you build strength, it can be more difficult to measure your progress in, say, pounds lifted. To quantify your output, Flexia tells you how much “control” you have over your movements during each rep, giving you greater awareness of your body. This metric, or your Movement Quality Score (MQS), is something you can compare from workout to workout as you become a stronger, more balanced athlete. It can also help you prevent injury, as Flexia’s dashboard recommends classes based on where you currently are as an athlete—not where you think you are based on previous performance. As someone who has only measured her strength and athleticism via pounds lifted and miles logged or pace improvements, I found this feature to be extremely useful, and it inspired me to work towards getting stronger in a more incremental way.

Its attractive design blends in with home decor

I was immediately impressed by Flexia’s modern, low-profile appeal. Because the product description says it is equipped with sensors that offer a connected, interactive workout experience, you might think that it'd be made of unsightly, gym-like materials (such as cheap metal and vinyl-covered foam padding), that might bring an unwanted gym-rat vibe into your home. That couldn’t be further from the truth: The unit is made of wood that looks like it could double as furniture, making it an easy choice if you only have space for it in a living room or bedroom. The wood wipes down easily with dish soap and water on a microfiber rag, and the upholstery on the carriage can be cleaned with leather cleaner every 6 to 12 months, or more frequently if needed.

Flexia is the only reformer that can stand upright when not in use. “The wheels enable smaller space maneuvering and allow you to go from a sofa-sized piece of equipment to a desk chair footprint,” Canevari says. As someone with more apartment space to spare than many New Yorkers—but who also doesn’t want her living space to scream "fitness junkie"—I found this feature incredibly appealing.

What I don’t like about the Flexia Reformer

You’ll need the right setup to use it

This one’s a double-edged sword: The Flexia requires space to use, but it’s easy to store when you’re not taking classes. You’ll want to make sure you have an adequate footprint to set up the machine as well as ample room to maneuver your body while using it. The machine itself measures 90 inches by 30 inches by 14 inches when ready for use, but Flexia recommends leaving a foot of space above your head and at your feet, as well as two feet on either side of your body during use. For the lazy or mathematically challenged, that’s 9½ feet by 6½ feet of floor space, which could be problematic for apartment dwellers or those who already have lots of furniture in their home.

The good news: Its wheeled carriage makes it easy to maneuver to store vertically, though your ceilings should be at least 8 feet high to avoid potential damage. Once upright, its footprint takes up 30 inches by 29½ inches—only about a 2½-foot square.

Finally, though this probably isn’t an issue for most, you’ll need wi-fi to access its library of classes and a nearby power source to plug it in.

It doesn't come with a screen or app that streams workouts

Based on the popularity and design of Peloton, most fitness devotees willing to drop a lot of cash on expensive equipment expect it to come with its own touchscreen tablet for streaming classes. Flexia requires you to have a phone, tablet, computer, or smart TV that you can place within view during each session, which some users might find challenging to do. I’m fortunate to have a large enough TV where streaming isn’t an issue and would afford me a decent line of sight, but this might not be the case for all and is something to consider before you purchase the Flexia.

In addition, a companion app—which could make streaming easier for a lot of people—doesn’t currently exist. The company has eventual plans for app-based subscriptions via Apple TV, Roku, and other streaming platforms, but they’re not available yet.

Real-time workout feedback isn’t yet available

I’m a pilates newbie, so getting comfortable on the reformer is a work in progress. While I was able to easily watch and follow along with the studio-based workout during my trial, I found that I missed the hands-on adjustments that can only happen during in-person classes. I wondered if I’d be able to justify the high cost of the reformer with no tangible way to prove that I was doing each move correctly. And while helpful post-workout stats are provided in the Movement Quality Score, I wasn’t sure how that info could help me identify ways to improve my form.

But some of that is upcoming: Flexia’s members will soon be able to access a post-class report via their studio membership, says Canevari. Similar to Peloton’s power meter for its bike, Flexia will examine 15 different numerical classifications that explain what’s expected during each exercise, including weight moved in real time during reps, whether you’re achieving good control, if you’re maintaining consistency between reps, and if you’re moving fast enough to make the exercise effective. A graph will indicate speed, control, and consistency by exercise, so users can see which positions are most challenging. So while Flexia won’t offer real-time corrections during a workout, you can take this report and make a mental note to focus on improvements to make during your next session.

To save a little money, assembly is required

Flexia isn’t necessarily complicated to set up—an assembly video narrated by Canevari walks you through how to put it together, with labeled graphics describing each part and visuals for how to arrange them. An Allen wrench and two smaller wrenches are included, and while a socket wrench and ratchet can help you make the machine more secure, they’re not required for assembly.

A gentle hand is also necessary: Forcing the edges together can cause each piece to become damaged. The company offers support and advises calling if you’re having trouble with the DIY route. You could also save yourself some time and pay for help: For an additional $200, white-glove delivery is available within a 60-mile radius of many major cities.

What other people are saying about the Flexia Reformer

The Flexia site doesn’t have typical shopper reviews, but testimonials from users love that it made them feel more confident completing their daily activities.

One former basketball player gave it 5 stars and said he felt athletic enough to dunk again, while another user gave it the same rating and said that, despite being told he wasn’t strong or athletic enough, he felt confident for the first time.

I couldn’t find any user complaints, but as a new product, it’s too soon to tell if some may emerge—and that’s something we’ll keep an eye on.

What is the return policy and warranty for the Flexia Reformer?

The company offers a warranty for 5 years from the date of delivery on the wood frame and metal corners on the machine, and a 2-year warranty for upholstery, ropes, and fabric loops.

It also offers a money-back guarantee of 60 days from date of purchase and will pay to pick up and ship the Reformer back and refund your entire original purchase price, less the original delivery, with no extra re-stocking or shipping fees. If you feel you may have a warranty-covered complaint after that time, email the company with a description of your problem and include photos. If your machine is deemed defective, you'll have to pay to ship it back (to the tune of $250 to $300, depending on location), and Flexia will send you a new unit.

Regardless of your complaint, it’s worth emailing their team if you have any questions or concerns. “I know exactly what it’s like to have a big investment not work and to be left hanging by the manufacturer,” Canevari says. “Having worked on the technical side, we want to be fair and supportive: We stand behind our products.”

Is the Flexia Reformer worth it?

Yes, if you have the space and the budget for it

The Flexia Reformer is an attractive alternative to attending studio classes and offers a variety of classes via an AI platform that adapts with you as you get stronger. As a somewhat more affordable home pilates reformers, Flexia stands out as a good-value, high-end option for pilates enthusiasts who want to upgrade their workout. And as with most investments, consistency adds up: Spending $3K on a machine plus $39 a month on membership might seem costly, but with one-on-one reformer classes costing an average of $40 each, devotees will find Flexia pays for itself with consistent use.

That said, if you’re feeling hesitant because of some of the downsides—particularly the lack of during-workout feedback and the companion app—there’s no harm in waiting to see what Flexia comes up with in the coming months before committing to the purchase.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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