Pilates is a great way to help you achieve the balanced body you have been striving for but have not found. It is a great workout for building strength in your back and core muscles. And not only does it leave you looking better, more importantly, it leaves you feeling better.
As a certified Pilates Instructor, I provide private sessions in my home studio which include Mat Pilates, Reformer Pilates, and Pilates with the Springboard System.
Pilates is a workout that strengthens your core muscles, tones your muscles, and can be done anywhere. Mat Pilates is the Pilates training practice that can be done on a mat, meaning, no reformer is used. Mat Pilates utilizes your own body weight, rather than resistance from the reformer springs and focuses on the original movements created by Joseph Pilates more than a hundred years ago, which he referred to as Contrology. Practicing Mat Pilates will teach you the foundation of the Pilates Method and ground you in the fundamental principles and concepts of Pilates that you will use with other apparatuses, like the Reformer and Springboard. Consistent practice of Mat Pilates improves strength, promotes flexibility, and utilizes proper breath control. Breathwork in Pilates has mental health benefits as well due to the focus on your breath, which has shown in various studies to decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. So, not only will your physical health improve with Pilates, but your mental health will as well.
Both types of Pilates, Mat based and Reformer based, strengthen your core, improve muscular endurance, and improve posture. As stated above, Mat Pilates uses your own body weight, whereas Pilates on a Reformer uses spring-loaded resistance. While mat Pilates offers low-intensity strength training, the reformer and its springs provide more of a targeted, high-intensity training experience. The reformer has a variety of exercises that can cater to the entire body or it can be more strategic when you’re targeting specific areas of the body. The reformer has its signature springs that add varying levels of resistance to each and every move. While Mat Pilates relies mostly on bodyweight exercises, the ability to add weight to reformer Pilates gives it the benefit of increasing muscular strength and endurance. An additional benefit of the reformer is its ability to challenge your balance and coordination. The sliding carriage on the reformer adds the element of instability to your workouts. Your muscles have to be fully engaged and controlled in order to move the platform steadily or keep it in the same place.
Springboard Pilates is a mat-based Pilates workout that uses springs and levers attached to the wall-mounted “springboard.” You can view a workout on the Springboard as a fusion of classical Mat Pilates (which is super challenging in its own right) with the addition of Pilates equipment that is similar to what is on the reformer. Working out with the Springboard means muscles are constantly in tension, similar to lifting weights with very little rest between exercises. Slow and controlled movement increases the intensity. While working out with the Springboard, you work each side of your body (unilateral work) creating muscle balance, which is critical for athletic performance and injury prevention. It is not uncommon during one session to utilize all of these techniques, Mat, Reformer, and Springboard Pilates.