Pilates Mat vs Pilates Reformer: What's The Difference?

Pilates Mat vs Pilates Reformer: What's The Difference?

Pilates Blog 16 minute read

Pilates is a great way to get in shape, but it can be hard to understand the differences between Pilates Mat vs. reformer exercises and equipment.

While both are great workouts, many people wonder which one is better for them.

Which style should you choose? What are the benefits of each? How do they work differently? And if you're not sure what type of workout will suit your needs best, how do you decide where to start?

This article will help answer all these questions so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not Pilates Mat or Reformer training is right for you.

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Pilates Mat vs Pilates Reformer: What's The Difference?

The main difference between the Pilates Mat and Reformer is that while both can be used with just your body weight for resistance, Pilates Matwork focuses more on technique.

There's no equipment required; this includes no springs or straps and you'll only need a Yoga/Pilates mat to get started.

In comparison, Pilates Reformer training focuses on building endurance while strengthening muscles, improving posture, and increasing flexibility with the help of springs, straps, and other moving parts.

While you can do the same series of exercises on the reformer as you can on the mat, the routines are quite different. Mat classes rely almost entirely on bodyweight movements, but Reformers use springs to add resistance to Pilates motions.

Benefits of Pilates Mat

Pilates Mat is great for beginners because it focuses more on proper body alignment and the techniques of Pilates. While you can still get a good workout with just your own body weight, using weights or springs increases intensity to help tone muscles and improve flexibility over time.

If you're looking for an intense workout that will challenge your mind as well as your body, Pilates Mat is a great way to go. You can also use the equipment you already have at home for this workout – all you need is a few square feet of floor space and a Yoga/Pilates mat.

With Pilates Mat, there's no "one size fits all" approach – making it especially suitable for people at every level. Pilates Mat is also great for people that want to focus on their form in order to strengthen and lengthen muscles.

Advanced mat routines, on the other hand, are quite difficult because you're using your body throughout the workout there's no one to help or encourage you.

Benefits of Pilates Reformer

Pilates Reformer workouts are best for intermediate-level exercisers who have built up some strength and endurance but need more resistance than just their own body weight.

If you're an experienced Pilates user and your workouts have become routine, it's time to add in some extra challenges! Reformer equipment will help you get the most out of every workout by doing basic moves in a variety of ways.

The more advanced equipment also encourages muscle engagement while providing resistance that challenges your current level of fitness.

So whether you're a beginner Pilates student who wants to up your exercise routine or an experienced exerciser that needs a new challenge, the Reformer will bring something new to your workouts.

When using the reformer, you'll want to build up strength and endurance first – this is why it's great for intermediate-level exercisers.

In the first couple of weeks, you should concentrate on working the body evenly before focusing on specific muscle groups. Then, after about four to six weeks, you can intensify your workouts by adding springs or resistance bands for even more strength-building exercises.

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Which to Choose: Pilates Mat or Pilates Reformer?

Overall, both Pilates Mat and Reformer training are great for people who are looking to build strength while increasing flexibility, balance, and coordination. Both exercises also improve muscle tone and posture.

So if you're a beginner that wants to strengthen your body without challenging yourself too much yet, Pilates Mat is the way to go.

But if you want to get an intense workout with lots of repetitions, the Pilates Reformer is a better choice.

Moreover, Pilates reformer is a fantastic place to start if you have an injury where you know you'll require customization, are pregnant or have any other issues. It's simple to customize for any life stage.


There is no need to choose one over the other. Pilates offers a variety of advantages and doing both Pilates mat and reformer exercises work well together.

It's all about finding the right balance, and it's crucial to figure out what you enjoy and what your body needs.

Irrespective of the exercise type, if you're looking for a new exercise routine that will improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility – regardless of age or fitness level – pilates is a great way to go.

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