There are several key differences between Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates although both practices follow the same Pilates principles. While both methods provide powerful, focused workouts that challenge your body and strengthen your core, they do have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to physical exercises, equipment, cost and accessibility.
Both Mat and Reformer Pilates were invented by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates. Reformer Pilates is practised on a bed-like frame and carriage system. The carriage is connected to springs of varying resistance which creates a push and pull for multiple exercises. Reformer Pilates can be a dynamic style workout or designed specifically for rehabilitation. Reformer Pilates is usually more expensive and less accessible due to the equipment required. Some people find Reformer Pilates intimidating due to the bulky equipment
Mat Pilates uses your own body weight for resistance whereas the Reformer uses the footbar, springs, or straps to push or pull against. The Mat work is the true foundation of Pilates. The Mat repertoire started with 34 exercises although now has evolved into many varying combinations as it has grown more popular. It’s a challenging discipline in its own right. All of the skills that Pilates is known for developing can be acquired and refined by doing the Mat work.Mat Pilates is the most accessible out of the two. With no equipment required and minimal space, it makes it easy to do almost anywhere. Mat Pilates can be easily modified to suit any fitness level or ability. It is versatile and unintimidating.
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