What is Reformer Pilates?

What is Reformer Pilates?

January 10, 2022 by Emma Norton0
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Atkins Health offers both Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates, and while both focus on the principles of centering, breathing and control in order to improve core strength, each type offers slightly different benefits. As the name suggests, Mat Pilates involves exercising on a yoga-like mat, whereas a machine comprising a system of pulleys and springs is used in Reformer Pilates. 

Mat Pilates 

Mat Pilates is generally the simpler of the two types as it focuses on a sequence of routine movements on the floor. It is often confused with yoga due to its smooth movements performed on a mat, but it involves much more than just flexing and stretching.  

Mat Pilates involves body weight exercises low to the ground using resistance against gravity. It focuses on strengthening and developing lower and upper back muscles, stomach and back, and despite its simplicity, this low-impact and gentle style of exercise can still provide a significant strength workout. 

In addition to increasing core strength, Mat Pilates is beneficial in improving posture, increasing flexibility, easing neck and back pain, increasing bone density, and helping to reduce the risk of injury. It has even been found to improve sleep and support mental well-being. 

Mat Pilates offers steady and limitless progress. It is suitable for any level of fitness and can be enjoyed by beginners as well as people with advanced fitness who are looking for more challenging routines. Exercises include leg circles, leg stretches, rolling back, roll-over and spine stretch. Mat Pilates is ideal for transitioning to reformer Pilates, as most of the mat exercises translate directly onto the reformer machine. 

What is Reformer Pilates?

We posed the question, ‘what is reformer Pilates?’ to our exercise physiology team. Reformer Pilates offers similar benefits to Mat Pilates but uses a bed-like apparatus. The springs, ropes and straps of the Pilates Reformer add resistance, and as proficiency increases, the fluid transitioning from one exercise to the next allows constant movement and a more intense workout with the Reformer than with Mat Pilates. 

Reformer Pilates also generally allows better customisation of fitness goals. In addition to the benefits of Mat Pilates, reformers offer better postural alignment, development of cardiovascular endurance, and potential weight loss through increased calorie burning. Because Reformer Pilates tends to be more intense, facilitating constant fluidity of movement, it is a popular choice not just for those already well-versed in Mat Pilates, but for beginners alike. 

Which type of Atkins Health Pilates is better for me? 

While both types of Pilates are great for rehabilitation, strengthening and fitness, the type that’s more appropriate for you ultimately depends on your preferences and goals. Our experts can provide advice and recommendations based on your personal circumstances. 

Our practitioners use Mat Pilates in our one-on-one private sessions, and in our women’s health programs, whether it is at one of our clinics, at a client’s home, or though online sessions with our clients all over Australia.

We offer group Reformer Pilates classes at the Gold Coast Performance Centre, our Runaway Bay clinic, and delivered by accredited exercise physiologists using Pilates Reformer equipment. Together with a maximum class size of just four participants, this ensures that you will receive the highest quality of instruction available in an Atkins Health class, to reach your goals sooner.

Fitness v Clinical

The exercises involved in a typical fitness Pilates class or session focus on improving general movement, increasing strength, and giving the participant more control in their body, helping the participant to improve core stability and general strength. Clinical Pilates differs from Fitness Pilates because it takes into account an individual’s specific injuries and physical needs, instead of having every person work in the same way. Practitioners that provide the clinical alternative, like those at Atkins Health, require expert knowledge and training in physiotherapy and exercise physiology, so that they can analyse which specific Pilates exercises suit each patient best, and then modify the participant’s routine to those needs. Find out more about our individual and group clinical Pilates classes.

Learn more about the benefits of pilates.

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