Pilates is a great exercise for everyone and it can deliver core strength, flexibility, and lean muscle tone. Who wouldn’t want that? But, sometime people wonder if they should start with Mat Pilates or strap themselves into a Reformer – the equipment developed by Joseph Pilates, creator of Pilates.
The truth is that Pilates mat workouts and Pilates Reformer workouts offer similar benefits. Basically, you need to create some resistance in order to do the 500 classical Pilates exercises, which are designed to work the abs, lower back, hips and buttocks. The way you accomplish this resistance can be either with your own body weight, or with a Reformer where pulleys and springs create the resistance.
However, there are several products that mimic the resistance action of a Reformer. Many Pilates fans buy their own resistance bands, which are a great supplement to classes. Using resistance bands allows you to practice Pilates at home or on the go.
While some Pilates experts recommend mat classes for beginners, we introduce the Reformer from the start to ensure that every student is comfortable with the machine. It may look intimidating, but the Reformer is a powerful tool that ends up being fun to use!
However, there’s no need to agonize over the decision between the mat and the Reformer. Both forms will teach you how to work the ‘powerhouse’ and tone your body along the way. It’s also a great idea to discuss it with your instructor, experience both classes first and then asses which one will help you reach your goals and needs better.
Are you team mat or team reformer?