Pilates is a great entry into the world of fitness for those new to gyms, as well as a great routine for anyone – but many have misconceptions about what this exercise entails, as well as how to differentiate between the two types: mat Pilates, and Pilates reformer.

What is Pilates?
The best way to describe Pilates quickly is “yoga with an emphasis on the core”; in other, longer words, Pilates puts an emphasis on the abdomen, lower back, butt, inner and outer thighs, and other areas, through movements and progressions that engage the entire body through motions that are challenging and strengthening, yet gentle. Pilates is well-loved as it develops coordination, strength, flexibility, excellent posture, and endurance like other exercises, but comes with a considerably lower chance of injury because of its relatively slow pace and emphasis on awareness of how we use our bodies.

Traditional Pilates uses body weight exercises and a mat, or other simple apparatus such as inflatable exercise balls.

What is Pilates reformer?
With the same overarching goals – be aware of one’s workout and concentrate on the core, using slow, deliberate motions that strengthen and extend – Pilates reformer adds the influence of a “reformer”, an instrument that allows its users to add resistance to their workouts. The reformer is a platform, with shoulder rests, that rolls back and forth on wheels attached to its frame, which are in turn attached to an end base that also provides a footrest. The tension and resistance are adjustable, and users can add cables, bars, pulleys, and straps to change up their workout. The device can be used while sitting or standing.

While anyone can master the Pilates reformer machine, many are intimidated at first – don’t be! Just a few private classes can help you to adjust to the machine and understand the fundamentals of using it prior to joining in a group; many gyms recommend that you independently learn how to use it before starting group Pilates reformer classes.

How to choose?
If you are physically able to do Pilates, you are able to use the reformer – however, deciding on which routine to use ultimately comes down to the time investment you are willing to invest in learning the machine, as well as your base knowledge of Pilates.

Both mat Pilates and Pilates reformer will accomplish the goals of becoming toned, flexible, and strong, and it is often easier to drop in on mat Pilates group classes. Beginners will want to start with mat Pilates, in order to grasp a firm understanding of the fundamentals of Pilates prior to moving on. If you are already well-versed, however, moving to Pilates reformer can help mix up your workout and provide an additional challenge.

If you’re interested in either mat or reformer Pilates classes, whether group or individual, call your Future Fitness Center today – our gyms near Moorestown, Mullica Hill, Cherry Hill, and other South Jersey locations provide members with dozens of choices in classes, as well as unique amenities and access to all 6 of our clubs.