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From Mat to Reformer: Understanding the Different Types of Pilates Classes

Pilates is a unique form of exercise focused on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength, flexibility and controlled movements. It aims to strengthen the body and mind through a series of low-impact, mat-based exercises or using special equipment like the Pilates Reformer.

There are many types of Pilates classes, but two of the most common are Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates. Understanding the difference between these two formats can help you determine which class is right for you.

What is Pilates on Mat?

Mat Pilates is done on the floor using a mat, your own body weight and sometimes small props like resistance bands or Pilates “rings” to provide added resistance. Mat Pilates helps build a strong core and improve posture, flexibility and coordination. It involves sequences of movements that flow smoothly from one into the next, emphasising technique, control and breathing.

Mat Pilates is very accessible since it requires no special equipment besides a mat. It’s a great option for beginners looking to learn the fundamentals of Pilates movements. The difficulty level can be easily adjusted by the instructor to accommodate different fitness levels.


What is Reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates utilises a specialised piece of equipment called the Pilates Reformer. The reformer consists of a sliding carriage that rolls back and forth on a frame. It uses springs, straps and your own body weight as resistance to perform the Pilates exercises. At KX Pilates, we offer our own reformer — the KX Reformer. Created with extra features and creating a wider range of exercise possibilities and adjustments. 

Using the reformer adds an extra challenge to Pilates movements and allows for more dynamic, flowing sequences of exercises. The springs provide adjustable resistance levels, enabling you to increase the intensity over time as your strength builds.

Reformer Pilates simultaneously strengthens and stretches the entire body thanks to the combination of resistance training and proprietary equipment. It’s suitable for beginners and experts alike who want to build core stability, flexibility, balance and muscle tone.

Both Mat and Reformer Pilates provide excellent benefits, including:

  • Increased core strength and muscle tone
  • Improved flexibility and mobility
  • Enhanced posture and alignment
  • More balance and coordination
  • Stress relief and relaxation
  • Injury prevention and rehabilitation

However, there are some additional benefits of Pilates Reformer classes to consider:

  • The reformer provides constant tension on the muscles to develop strength and stamina
  • Springs allow you to add resistance with just a slight movement, which is great for rehabilitation
  • Carriage and straps enable you to safely perform exercises that might otherwise strain joints
  • Dynamic sequences can build cardio endurance

This makes Reformer Pilates an extremely versatile workout. From gentle post-rehab exercises to advanced athletic conditioning, the reformer can be adjusted to suit nearly any goal or fitness level.


Choosing the right Pilates class for your needs

Choosing the right Pilates class for your needs is crucial to ensure a rewarding and safe experience. As a Pilates beginner, you can start with either Reformer Pilates or mat classes. Both classes are designed to teach you proper form and technique, introducing you to the essential fundamentals of Pilates. This foundational knowledge is key before advancing to more complex movements.

However, the world of Pilates is wonderfully diverse. Many studios, including KX Pilates, offer Reformer Pilates classes tailored for both beginner and advanced students. These classes allow you to develop your skills progressively, from basic to more sophisticated techniques.

For those looking to elevate their Pilates practice, Reformer classes are a fantastic option. The added resistance of the Reformer machine takes your workout beyond the basics of mat work, challenging your strength and flexibility. These classes are designed to sculpt lean muscle tone, improve posture and enhance core stability, providing a comprehensive and dynamic workout experience.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s body and fitness journey is unique. If you have any injuries or special needs or if you’re pregnant, it’s essential to communicate with your instructor or contact your studio beforehand. This way, they can provide modifications and ensure that your Pilates experience is both safe and effective. 

Our skilled instructors at KX Pilates are trained to adapt exercises and offer personalised guidance to accommodate your specific requirements, ensuring a comfortable and beneficial workout.


The benefits of diversity in your Pilates routine

Mixing up your Pilates workouts keeps the mind and body guessing while working different muscle groups and movement patterns. This is the key to overcoming plateaus and making continual progress in your health and fitness.

At KX Pilates, we offer three class levels: Advanced, Beginner and Pre-Post Natal Pilates. In addition to the variety of exercises we offer in our classes, we also offer additional props such as dumbbells, jump boards and poles.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to Pilates. Embracing different class styles and equipment keeps your workouts dynamic while providing both physical and mental benefits.

In summary, adding diversity to your Pilates routine:

  • Prevents boredom and burnout
  • Reduces the likelihood of overuse injuries
  • Allows for increased resistance and intensity over time
  • Enhances functional strength across different planes of motion
  • Improves balance, coordination and stability through new challenges
  • Keeps workouts fresh and engaging, so you stick with it!


Discover our range of Reformer Pilates classes at KX Pilates

At KX Pilates, we offer a wide range of class types to help you explore the many benefits of Pilates Reformer classes. Whether you’re after stress relief and gentle lengthening or extreme full-body conditioning, we have a class that fits your goals:

  • If you’re new to Reformer Pilates or just easing back into fitness, our Beginner Reformer Pilates classes are the perfect starting point. These sessions focus on fundamental techniques and movements. 
  • For those who have gotten a taste of Pilates and want more, our Intermediate Reformer Pilates classes are for you. These sessions bridge the gap between beginner and advanced levels, introducing more challenging exercises and techniques.
  • Ready to step up your Pilates game? Our Advanced Pilates classes are designed for those who have mastered the basics and are craving more intensity and complexity. Expect challenging Reformer Pilates exercises that push your strength, flexibility and endurance to new heights.
  • Our Pre & Post Natal Pilates classes offer a safe, supportive and tailored approach to exercise for women during and after pregnancy. These classes focus on strengthening the pelvic floor, improving posture and maintaining fitness, all while accommodating the needs of your body during this special time. 

Ultimately, Pilates offers a unique and holistic approach to fitness, harmonising body and mind through controlled, low-impact exercises. Whether you choose to do Mat Pilates or embrace the dynamic nature of Reformer Pilates classes at KX Pilates, both paths lead to increased core strength and improved overall well-being.

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