Reformer Pilates vs. Mat: What's the difference?

Reformer Pilates vs. Mat

Pilates is a popular workout for strengthening the core, improving flexibility and balance, and enhancing overall fitness. There are many types of Pilates, but the two most popular classes are Reformer and Mat Pilates. While reformer Pilates and mat Pilates have a lot in common, there are some profound differences between the two. So how do you know which one to choose? Keep reading to find out the difference between Reformer Pilates and Mat Pilates.

Reformer Pilates 

Reformer Pilates is a type of Pilates performed on a resistance machine called a Reformer. The Reformer is a large bed-like machine with springs that provide resistance. The machine has a carriage that moves back and forth on rails, with straps attached to the carriage for added resistance. The movements performed on the Reformer are low-impact and help to build strength, improve posture, and increase flexibility.  

With Reformer Pilates, you don't have to get on and off the floor, which makes it an excellent option for those with injuries or limitations but also an excellent option for more advanced movers looking for a challenge. With a reformer machine, you get a lot of variety, versatility and fun from your workout. The different levels of resistance in the springs and adjustments possible on the machine allow for endless flexibility. At our studio in Malvern East, we also include some small props such as dumbbells, Pilates rings, weighted balls and chi balls - equipment that you may also commonly see in Mat Pilates too.

Mat Pilates

Mat Pilates is a type of Pilates performed on a mat using your own body weight as resistance. Mat Pilates focuses on bodyweight exercises that isolate specific muscle groups, which help to build core strength, enhance flexibility, and improve posture. Mat Pilates is also a great form of exercise for anyone who wants to improve their technique and alignment on the reformer too. However, Mat Pilates is also quite fixed in its level of difficulty as there are fewer adjustable options when compared to Reformer Pilates.

Which is right for you?

Reformer Pilates is performed on a reformer machine, while Mat Pilates is performed on a mat without the use of springs for additional resistance. Reformer Pilates and Mat Pilates are both great options for improving your core strength and posture in different ways. Reformer Pilates offers more variety, uses the reformer for resistance and is a lot of fun. Mat Pilates is great for beginners, focuses on core strength and balance without the need for a reformer machine and therefore it can be done in more locations. The type of Pilates you choose ultimately comes down to your personal fitness goals and choose a class that aligns with those goals. Whichever type of Pilates you choose, be sure to stick with it and practice regularly for maximum results!

To find out more about how to use our Reformers at Return, watch our video.

Reformer Pilates vs. Mat: What's the difference?