Bodies were made to move and Pilates provides one of those rare ways to exercise that not only strengthens the entire body, but also brings balance to the mind. Like any new exercise routine, Pilates can be intimidating. The most frequent question: What’s the difference between mat and reformer Pilates and which one is right for me?
Both reformer and mat Pilates are core strengthening, which gives great benefit and a protective element to day-to-day activities. In addition, they each follow the Pilates principles of breath, flow, concentration and controlled movement; however, there are some differences to consider.
The reformer, built with a sliding carriage and adjustable springs to regulate tension and resistance, allows for a variety of exercises and positions: lying on your back, seated, on all fours, or standing. The reformer assists with proper form and alignment making it a wonderful option for those with injuries or chronic imbalance. Injury or not, everyone can benefit from its rehabilitative effect.
Mat Pilates includes a mat and typically a variety of props such as the Pilates circle, balls, resistance bands and light hand weights. Mat classes target specific muscle groups in the legs, abdominals and lower and upper back muscles using body weight to provide resistance against gravity. Without assistance or support of the reformer, this creates a more challenging workout requiring more control.