Pilates Mat VS Reformer: What's the Difference?

Posted 12 April 2022

Unless you are a Pilates pro or an experienced trainer, chances are that you may not initially be aware of the fact that there is more than one type of Pilates. Generally speaking, there are two broad Pilates types: Pilates on mat and Pilates on reformer. While the two make use of different equipment, it’s important to remember that the Pilates principles of concentration, control, center, flow, precision and breathing remain the same.

So, what’s the difference between mat Pilates and reformer Pilates? Which one should you be doing, and which one provides a bigger benefit to the mind and body? Find out below!

Pilates on Mat

Pilates mat work is the original form of Pilates, which Joseph Pilates created over 90 years ago. In mat work, your bodyweight provides resistance against gravity as you move through a series of exercises. These exercises are often performed in sequences, or what are known as flows.

One key benefit to mat work is that it can be done anywhere, at any time – all you need is a mat! This makes it extremely convenient and accessible for people who want to integrate Pilates into their lives. Additionally, because you are using your own bodyweight as resistance, mat work is great for toning and strengthening the muscles.

Pilates Mat VS Reformer: What's the Difference?
Reformer Pilates North Lakes - Club Pilates member on a reformer

Reformer Pilates

Reformer Pilates uses a piece of equipment known as the reformer. The reformer is a spring-loaded, moving carriage that allows you to perform a variety of exercises while lying down, sitting, or standing. The resistance of the springs can be adjusted to accommodate different levels of fitness, making reformer Pilates suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners.

The main benefit of reformer Pilates is that it provides a low-impact workout that is easy on the joints. Additionally, because the reformer gives you the ability to move in multiple planes of motion, it is an extremely effective way to improve flexibility and mobility.

Similarities Between Mat and Reformer Pilates

Although mat Pilates and reformer Pilates are different in terms of the equipment used, there are actually more similarities than you might think! Here are some key similarities between the two types of Pilates:

  • Both mat Pilates and reformer Pilates place an emphasis on proper form and technique. In both cases, it is important to focus on quality over quantity in order to get the most out of your workout.
  • Both mat Pilates and reformer Pilates emphasize controlled, fluid movements. This means that all exercises should be performed with control and precision, without any jerky or abrupt movements.
  • Both mat Pilates and reformer Pilates use breathwork as a way to deepen the connection between the mind and body. In both cases, the breath should be used to control the movement of the body, and each exhale should coincide with each movement.
  • Both mat Pilates and reformer Pilates can be modified to accommodate different fitness levels. Regardless of your current fitness level, there is a way to modify each exercise to make it appropriate for you.
  • Both mat Pilates and reformer Pilates offer a variety of benefits to the mind and body. These benefits include improved flexibility, increased strength, better posture, improved breathing, reduced stress levels, and more.

Which Pilates Method Should You Try?

So, which Pilates method is right for you – mat Pilates or reformer Pilates? The truth is that both types of Pilates offer a variety of benefits, and the best way to decide is to try both and see which one you like better!

If you’re looking for a workout that you can do anywhere, at any time, then mat Pilates is probably the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a low-impact workout that is easy on the joints, then reformer Pilates might be a better option.

No matter which type of Pilates you choose, you’re sure to experience a wealth of mind and body benefits. So what are you waiting for? Try mat Pilates and reformer Pilates at Club Pilates today!