Laura discusses the difference between Mat and Reformer Pilates.
What is the difference between Mat and Reformer Pilates?
There is no arguing that both mat and reformer Pilates will give you an incredible workout. Pilates increases core strength, builds flexibility, and improves posture. Deep abdominal muscles are recruited for each exercise. Any workout can be tailored to your body and your needs using modifications that increase or decrease intensity.
Mat Pilates uses your body weight as resistance and assistance for the exercises. It builds knowledge of the Pilates method with minimal equipment. The focus of the exercises is on control, balance and strength. Mat Pilates is taught for all levels, and in most cases no prior knowledge of Pilates is required to take a mat class.
There are a few less exercises in a mat repertoire than the reformer.
I know the reformer can look intimidating, but don’t be! The weighted springs can offer assistance or resistance, depending on the exercise. The reformer can help with rehab once released from physical therapy or alongside it for people with fibromyalgia, arthritis, hip or knee replacements to name a few. It is extremely effective, but also very safe.
The reformer may require a few private sessions to learn the equipment, or sometimes, previous mat experience is enough to get you started. The principles are the same: balance, control and strength. The reformer is simple to use once the basic concepts of core initiation are understood. The instructor helps guide you through the workout, giving cues and spring tension as you progress from one exercise to the next.
Both methods will offer significant and similar results. The mat is a great place to start for beginners and can also be challenging for the seasoned Pilates client. The reformer offers a wide variety of possibilities from a hard work out to a safe way to recover and rehab from illness or injury.