Mat Pilates vs. Equipment / Reformer Pilates

I am very often faced with the question: What is the difference between Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates?

Mat Pilates

Mat Pilates is a form of exercise that is done on the floor. It utilizes the core (which helps with stability and teaches you control), lengthens your muscles and strengthens you from the inside out. It focuses on internal obliques, stablizers in your spine, and is very flowing.

When you exercise using mat Pilates, you are primarily focusing on your core. Yes, your arms and legs will definitely get a workout, but the majority of the time you’ll be focusing on your abs.

Video: Larina is doing Mat Pilates at InterFit Studio.

The other thing to know is that mat work is a smaller part of the entire Pilates repertoire. Using just your body weight as a resistance and no props, there are about 50 or so exercises. It’s a great, fast-paced workout, but if you go to a mat class regularly, you’ll start to experience a lot of moves again and again and this might become boring and not very challenging.

Reformer Pilates

Reformer Pilates uses the springs and pulleys to guide and assist you in the exercises. It’s amazing rehab for people with scoliosis, fibromyalgia and arthritis. It is extremely effective, but at the same time is very gentle and safe. On equipment you have the springs and pulleys to use as a resistance. It focuses on the same thing that Mat Pilates focuses on: control, balance, and strengthening you from the inside out.

There are over 250 moves you can do on a Reformer Pilates and that’s before you start getting into props or some of the newer moves that have been developed over the past few years (the choreography has really exploded in Pilates). Reformer work out is always challenging and targets every single muscle in your body. The Reformer is considered the workhorse piece of equipment in Pilates, and if I could only own one piece of exercise equipment, this would be the one I’d choose. Pilates instructors can work with anyone on a Reformer, from a recent car accident victim to a professional athlete. The exercises range from rehab focused and therapeutic to absolutely sweat-dripping, butt-kicking hard!

Both, Mat and Reformer Pilates, is an incredible form of exercise. At InterFit Pilates Studio we love to combine them together. And as a result our students get an incredibly Fit and Balanced body.