Pilates Reformer VS Mat

One of the most frequently asked questions from people looking to get into Pilates is, “what’s better, reformer or mat classes?”  To which my response is always, they’re both great!  I realize that’s a pretty vague answer, so I thought I’d try and break it down.  This is the ultimate duel between the classic Pilates mat class, and the popular reformer class.  I feel like a lot of people have been waiting to see the two square off , so here it is.

Bang For Your Buck
I would have to say mat would have to win this one.  Most studios usually charge more for reformer classes, if you’re looking to be an avid Pilates goer mat classes are easier on the wallet my far.  Why does a reformer class cost more?  Well,  the machines themselves cost a good chunk of change, averaging $10,000/reformer, not to mention maintenance fees, and the insurance necessary to run these classes is factored into the cost.

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Mat wins it again.  If you’re new to the whole Pilates thing, than jumping in a mat class is way easier than trying to strap yourself into a reformer.  Not to mention you could always do a mat class online at home, when not everyone has a reformer in their living room (sigh, if only).  Besides, it’s a good idea to get some of the basic Pilates principals, and tune into your body before jumping into a reformer class. To the Pilates newbie, the reformer can be pretty overwhelming!

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This time reformer takes the win.  Although both forms of Pilates are great for toning and strengthening the body, the reformer uses spring-based-resistance that really accelerates results for most people.  Most reformer classes work on building more limb strength and joint mobility from heavy resistance.  Plus at many studios the reformers will have lots of great special features like the jump board that combine cardio/plyometrics to your Pilates routine for a sweaty, fat burning, cardio blasting workout.  Reformer classes are a great way to mix up your workouts, and really kick-start your fitness goals.

Stretch Factor
I’m afraid this is an even tie.  Dependent on the class a mat class can really help improve mobility and flexibility through active stretching, but the reformer’s resistance and structured form can also deliver a great lengthening feeling.

The bottom line is that both mat classes and reformer classes offer unique benefits, and both include in depth core training.  There are a lot of different variables to consider when choosing whether to try Pilates reformer classes or a mat class, what you want out of a class, what your body needs, what’s in your budget.  Really, the best way to decide is to try them both and decide what works best for your body.  I offer tons of Pilates classes in the Toronto area, both reformer and mat.  I’d be happy to pop your Pilates cherry if you’re thinking of trying out a class check out my schedule for details!

Do you have a favorite, reformer or mat?  I wanna hear about it and why!  Don’t forget to leave a comment below.

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