Q&A: Mat vs. Reformer Pilates?

Question by artofserendipity: Mat vs. Reformer Pilates?
I was wondering how essential the reformer and other equipment is in pilates. I have decided to start pilates because I suffer from lower back pain and wanted to strenghten my abs and other muscles to help. Also, I am interested in toning my muscles. I took my first class last week at a pilates studio that offers classes for 3 people at a time at a class. The studio had the reformer, the allegro tower, and some other equipment I don’t know about yet. However, my gym also offers pilates classes which are free with membership. My gym does not have the reformer, and the pilates offered is strictly mat pilates. I was wondering if anyone had any opinion as to the importance of the reformer or other pilates equipment. If I will get better results for my back pain using the equipment it might be worth the cost, but I don’t want to have to spend extra if the pilates method can be experienced without the equipment.

Best answer:

Answer by I Know
The equipment is not essential at all. The reformer and cadillac generally make the exercises easier to do. Matwork is the most physically challenging way to do Pilates.

I strongly advise agaist taking classes at the gym. You get what you pay for. Pilates trainers at gyms are not known for having very good Pilates training. Also, certified Pilates trainers are trained to work with injured people, which would be a big plus for you, I would think.

I will say that sounds pricey for a mat class. I’m guessing that that is the highest price they charge, and that you could get a better deal if you purchased more than 1 class. That is how it works at the studio I work out at anyways. I buy 10 mat classes at a time for 0.

Give your answer to this question below!

One thought on “Q&A: Mat vs. Reformer Pilates?

  1. Your questions show you’ve given this a good deal of thought—great! First of all, in my experience, mat Pilates classes at gyms have little value. Most are taught by instructors with “weekend” certifications, vs. the hundreds of hours of training most studio instructors have. In addition, many gym mat classes are yoga-chi-lates, some bizarre combination of yoga, Pilates, and tai chi that tries to be all things to all people and succeeds in being nothing for anybody.
    Therefore, if you go into just the mat version, I strongly suggest you go to a studio. You’ll get much more from it, and I feel it is worth the cost. (Most classes have no more than a dozen or so students).
    Apparatus Pilates is much more intense and varied. Joe Pilates himself invented more than 500 exercises; his successors have invented hundreds more, and created variations of the master’s work. The springs, straps, and other features of the apparatus enable the instructor to zero in on very specific areas (if desired), and to adjust the apparatus for the strength and experience of each student. That type of work is not very feasible in a mat class. With 3 students, the instructor can individualize the training much more. The optimal situation is one-on-one instruction, but it can get pricey.
    You MUST (please!) tell the instructor about your back pain before starting Pilates. Otherwise he/she will assume you have no issues. One of the beauties of Pilates is that the exercises can be modified for those with back, shoulder, knee, or other injuries so that you’ll benefit with minimal risk. Any legitimate Pilates regimen will strengthen your abs and tone your muscles, but it won’t, by itself, give you a flat or six-pack set of abs.
    The most important thing I can tell you is that Pilates benefits are 24/7. Within several months of regular work, you should be able to lift groceries, kids, packages, whatever, more safely and easily. Your core will become a fulcrum that you use with your limbs and other areas, rather than stressing just the muscles of your limbs. Your balance, flexibility, breathing, and mind-body-spirit connection should improve dramatically. Pilates helped me get to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 55. Nuff said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *