Why do I need a reformer? Can't I just exercise on a mat?
October 11, 20212 min read
Joseph Pilates developed his method of working out to be performed on various pieces of equipment, the most common of which are the mat and the reformer. Both forms build strength, tone your body, improve your mental clarity and teach you how to use your breath. But there are some key differences between the two you should be aware of before you choose one route over the other.
First off, with a mat, there’s approximately 50 exercises you can perform. On a reformer, there over 300 exercises you can do! If you feel like you’ve plateaued on a mat or you know you’re the type of person that gets bored, a reformer may be the way to go.
With AeroPilates, you also have the added benefit of low-impact cardio, which is performed with the Cardio Rebounder, something that’s not available on other brands of home reformers.
In addition to more exercises, a Pilates reformer also lets you progress at a steadier pace than on a mat because you can customize the resistance. If you want to increase the strength in your mobilizing muscles, then you add cords. If you want to focus on strengthening your core, simply reduce the number of cords. The ability to customize your workout depending on your energy level and fitness goals makes the reformer a more beneficial for beginners.
Mat Pilates only utilizes your bodyweight, which means there’s less options for modification. Even more, mat Pilates is difficult for beginners. It requires the core strength and flexibility of an advanced practitioner to do correctly. When Joe Pilates taught his students, he would never have expected them to perform floor exercises before first training them on the reformer.
Although a Pilates reformer will challenge and intrigue you more than mat Pilates, there’s no comparison when it comes to price, unfortunately. A mat will always be more affordable than a Pilates reformer.
The good news is that home reformer costs have dropped thousands of dollars since the 90s. If you’ve been attending studio reformer classes, investing in a home reformer will pay for itself in no time. And with many educational and workout DVDs, you’ll have access to the same workouts. Ultimately, it’s all relative to what you have or haven’t already spent on your Pilates practice.
Finally, another factor you have to consider is space and portability. Finding a place to practice on a mat is easy; you can bring a mat anywhere. But many home reformers are also convenient! For example, AeroPilates reformers are foldable and easy to transport. This makes Pilates possible for those who don’t have a dedicated workout area.
Overall, there’s perks to both forms of Pilates, but I will tell you that’s there’s nothing more comprehensive and fun than an AeroPilates unit. AeroPilates has created a full body, infallible system including instruction, nutrition, cardio vascular training and motivational support on a reformer that is easy to set up, portable to move, super effective and very fun to use. Whether you’re new to Pilates or already a practitioner, an AeroPilates reformeris the best investment you can make for the whole family to improve your body, mind and overall health.
In today's chaotic, stress-filled world, a little exercise goes a long way to adding joy and vitality to your day. If you do nothing else, at least find 10 minutes to slowly stretch your whole body. Stretch to your full extension, relax in that position by exhaling into the stretch and then stretch a little more.
Most people have some kind of physical pain from years of incorrect movement, over zealous exercising and compounded injury. Joseph Pilates understood the negative effects of repetitive stress and touted the benefits of training the body as one integrated unit, in a symmetrically balanced way, on your back, on a machine that supports all structural weaknesses and challenges specific areas to simultaneously stretch and strengthen.
Interestingly, in 1920, Joseph Pilates preached about concentration, focus and breath, stating that they were essential in attaining total health and well-being. As you practice, the process becomes easier. If you stay focused your nervous system will begin to choose the right combination of muscles, your body will move more effortlessly and you will find that the nervous system and brain are able to relax.