Pilates Mat vs Reformer: Things You Need to Know

Pilates Mat vs Reformer: Things You Need to Know

Pilates is a program that was created by Joseph Pilates, and the exercises are more focused on controlled and precise movements. While it is a fitness program that helps strengthen the body, its emphasis is on the development of the core, proper breathing, and correct the body alignment through repetitive movements. At present, this fitness program is practiced around the world, and there are two different types—the reformer and the Pilates mat. Although they both have the same focus, there are differences between Pilates mat vs reformer.

Pilates Mat vs Reformer: The Differences

Understanding the differences between the two types of the Pilates program is crucial for you so that you will know what will match your skills and needs. That is also imperative to ensure your safety.

  • Pilates Mat

Pilates mat involves 50 exercises, and as its name implies, it is done on a mat which is why it is more portable than Reformer. This exercise program is recommended for beginners because its movements help teach your body how to control your core muscles which is the foundation of Pilates.

Many people think that Reformer is harder, but it actually is not. That is because, in Pilates mat, you don’t have any equipment like straps and bars, to support you. So, if you are new to Pilates and still lack flexibility, you will find the movements very challenging. Nonetheless, some practitioners claim that with Pilates mat, you will see results after only a few sessions.

  • Reformer

The reformer program is considered to be more comprehensive because it involves more than 250 exercises and you have to use the reformer equipment during a session. The equipment looks like a bed frame that has pulleys, cables, bars, straps, and a sliding carriage. You also have an option to adjust the resistance and tension depending on how challenging you want the movements to be.

Additionally, for this program, you need to have an instructor who will guide you initially. That will be helpful if you are new to the use of the equipment to familiarize yourself with its proper use. Reformer Pilates is not possible to do at home unless you own the equipment but if you have it, it takes a lot of space because it’s bulky.

If you are a beginner, you may find it easy to do the exercises because the resistance is adjustable and if you need your movements to be less intense, you have the bars and straps to help. Reformer Pilates is more preferred if you are recovering from an injury or if you have body limitations because the equipment helps increase a person’s range of motion.

Benefits of Pilates

The differences between Pilates mat vs reformer are quite evident. However, their benefits are the same because after all, they are exercise programs that have the same principle.

  • Helps Build Strength

Whether you are into reformer or Pilates mat, the movements will definitely strengthen your muscles especially the core which is the primary focus of the program. Just like with weight lifting, there is resistance created especially if you are using the reformer equipment. More importantly, you will have a more toned muscle because Pilates does not create bulk even if you are building muscle strength.

  • Creates Abdominal Definition

As we have mentioned, the exercises in Pilates is all about the core strength which is why this can help you have the most coveted six-pack abs, whether you are a man or a woman.
Improves flexibility: Pilates involves a lot of stretching that is why your flexibility will improve especially if you will be using the reformer equipment. The machine is designed to help you lengthen your muscles even if you are a beginner who has super tight muscles.

  • Eases Back Pain

The lack of good posture causes most back pains. Pilates is helpful in easing back pains because, as mentioned, it promotes correct body alignment. So, if you have tried everything to relieve your back pains but none of them are working, you might want to try Pilates.

  • Helps Relieve Stress

The movements you do in Pilates requires you to breathe properly which results in more oxygen flow in the body. Proper oxygenation makes you feel more invigorated that’s why it helps lower stress levels.

  • Improves Body Coordination

Pilates exercises the whole body because you need to move each part with precision. As such, your whole body will be conditioned which also results in a better balance.

  • May Help You Lose Weight

Pilates can help you shed off pounds because it helps you burn calories, especially the more intense forms. However, you need to combine it with proper diet and regular practice, just like with other types of exercise.
Strengthens the immune system: Similar to yoga, the exercises in Pilates help you build a better immune system giving you more defense against illnesses which leads to better overall health.

Final Words

Although Pilates was initially designed to help soldiers recover from their injuries, it is good to know that the exercises involved in this program are also beneficial to any person. In fact, over 12 million people of different ages practice this fitness regimen. You may find the exercises challenging at first, but joining a class regularly will help you improve not only your movements but also your overall health.

It does not matter whether you choose to do Reformer or Pilates mat because, as we have said, they have the same benefits. Some people who are already into other exercises even include Pilates in their program because the stretches are an excellent break for the body if you do other vigorous activities.

Hence, if you are looking for a different exercise regime to take on, Pilates is a good choice because it is not only beneficial to the body but also for the mind. This is great to add to your health regimen no matter your age is because everyone needs to have a strong core, flexible and strong muscles, and a good body posture. However, do note that before starting any exercise regime, you need to consult your physician first to make sure that this program is suitable for you, especially if you have an existing health condition.

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