WHICH ONE IS BETTER? WHAT SHOULD I START WITH? WHAT IS A REFORMER?
These are some of the common questions we get asked often, and the truth is everyone is different and could benefit from both. Depending on your level of Pilates experience and whether you are working with an injury or pregnancy as well what your strength goals may be. Let's first go into the main differences between Mat and Reformer Pilates and explain exactly what a Reformer is, and how it is used.
The Pilates REFORMER is a traditional piece of Pilates equipment which consists of a sliding carriage, adjustable springs, ropes with loops on the end and pulleys. It looks rather like a bed, yes it's quite medieval and scary when you first look at it, but don't worry! It's super fun, and one of the best and most versatile pieces of equipment you will ever use - PROMISE! The origins of the Pilates Reformer date way back to the original Pilates studios in New York in the 1920's and was designed by Joseph Pilates himself.
In many ways, Reformer Pilates is very similar to Mat Pilates, yet there are some factors which make the two quite different to one another. Reformer Pilates is usually a lot more intense than your usual Mat Pilates class and this is mainly because of the spring resistance being added to each exercise performed. Each Reformer has 5 springs, varying in strength and so when combined can add up to some considerable resistance. That said, there are some exercises, such as inside thigh skater, that when performed with very light spring are much more challenging. So the intensity of each exercise is greatly varied from person to person, making the Reformer an incredibly versatile workout or rehabilitation tool.
If you are an athlete or dancer and wanting to gain a competitive edge in your sport or develop sport specific strength and flexibility, then the Reformer would greatly benefit you. Reformer Pilates focuses greatly on core stabilisation, muscular endurance, peripheral joint stability, balance and co-ordination - all of which are vital to any athlete.
Pilates Reformer can also be of great benefit to anyone working through injury, as a rehabilitation tool. This is because it allows the client to exercise on a horizontal plane, therefore not load bearing vertically through the body. For example, for a client with a knee or ankle injury, they could be working lying down, focusing on stabilising and strengthening the muscles of the leg through a greater range of motion and with lighter resistance than their own body weight - speeding up their recovery through controlled movement. We have seen incredible results with some of our dance students in particular here at Fleur Wellbeing, who although they were unable to dance for weeks and sometimes months at a time, were able to keep building strength and control through Reformer Pilates; returning to dance even stronger than before their injury.
MAT PILATES exercises are very similar to those you will see on a Reformer, however they are performed on the Mat and sometimes utilising small props such as Pilates balls, small hand held weights, Pilates circles, Thera Bands and Foam Rollers to create versatility. So again, there are endless possibilities with Mat Pilates repertoire too - just when you think you've nailed hundreds, we get you to perform the exercise on a foam roller and BAM! abs are shaking all over again!
If you are completely new to both Mat and Reformer Pilates, we would recommend starting with some Mat Pilates classes first to become familiar with Pilates terminology and positions prior to taking it to the next level - the Reformer. We offer a great special for new clients - 10 Days of Group classes for $25. This is a great way to try out all the classes and see what you like!
Once you are feeling comfortable with Mat Pilates, try out some of Reformer classes on the Intro to Reformer special - 3 classes for $50.
We do advise that our Pre Natal clients please attend the dedicated Pre Natal Mat Pilates, Pre Natal Circuit and Pre Natal Reformer classes because of the strong emphasis on core work in our regular classes - please get in touch if you are Pregnant prior to attending your first class by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For clients working with injuries, we recommend getting in touch with us to discuss appropriate modifications that may need to be made as well as the possibility of private 1:1 training.
Please book in online via the MINDBODY booking system or download the MINDBODY app from the app store. Our Group Mat Pilates classes have a maximum of 15 people per class and our Reformer sessions are a maximum of 6 people per class so bookings are essential.
If you would like to see some videos and pics of our classes please check us out on social media where you can find us on Instagram @fleur_wellbeing and facebook.com/fleurwellbeing or click on the links below.
Written by Ellesse Hawkins
Reference: Studio Pilates.
Our Blog posts are a written by our Instructors at Fleur Wellbeing Studio, to share in knowledge and inspire our community.