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I’m New To Pilates: What’s the difference between mat and equipment Pilates?

Mat or Equipment Pilates? What’s Should I Take?

Great question! In my opinion a lot of confusion has been created because of the way mat classes have traditionally been priced. Typically you will find gyms and studios will sell mat classes at a lower price point than equipment classes. True, teaching mat classes does not require a big investment in expensive quality equipment. However, it also sends the wrong signal that mat Pilates is somehow “easier” or requires less skill to teach. Wrong!

Pilates with the Mat

Let’s start with the aspect of difficulty in execution. Performing exercises on the mat without the benefit of the points of reference the equipment provides, the resistance of the springs, and the simple elevation from gravity is actually very challenging. On the mat it’s literally your body against gravity!

Pilates with Equipment

The equipment provides a tremendous amount of benefits, the most valuable of which is in my opinion the ability to adapt and modify exercises to meet the individual needs of a client. Say you are coming out of a knee replacement surgery. Would it be easier for you to squat down to a mat, or to lower yourself on to a Cadillac or studio reformer? Let’s say you’re pregnant. Again, it’s much easier for you to experience a fully rounded workout using a variety of the equipment we have at the studio than trying to make you comfortable exclusively on a mat.

What is better?

Now don’t get me wrong. The mat repertoire is amazing and practicing it regularly will increase your strength and stamina tremendously. However the benefits of working out in a fully equipped Pilates studio cannot be emphasized enough. In a fully equipped studio like Vero Pilates you will have the opportunity to explore mat work on a regular basis in addition to using different equipment on a rotating basis. In fact, the classical approach to the teaching of the Pilates Method always starts with a portion of the mat repertoire, followed by a reformer repertoire, and finishing off with either the Cadillac or Wunda chair depending on the individual needs of the client. So if you want to practice Pilates the way Joe intended it, find a fully equipped studio for your practice!

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