If you’re a fan of mat Pilates, chances are you’ve at least heard of Reformer Pilates. Maybe you’ve even thought about giving the machine-based version a go. Is there anything holding you back from going from mat to Reformer Pilates?

It wouldn’t be right to say that one version is better than the other. Both mat and Reformer have their advantages. But in the spirit of trying something new, we’ll explain what you need to know if you’re currently practising mat Pilates but are considering stepping onto the Reformer.

1. It’s not either/or

Getting started with Reformer Pilates doesn’t mean you have to give up mat Pilates. Quite the opposite.

“The two actually complement each other well. You may even find that you get more out of your mat Pilates if you combine with Reformer,” says Jodie Powell, Group Exercise Supervisor at David Lloyd Raynes Park.

2. You’ll find the Reformer Pilates movements familiar

Your first Reformer Pilates class is unlikely to exclusively feature brand-new-to-you moves, particularly if you’ve been practising mat Pilates for a while.

“You will come across some familiar mat Pilates exercises as the reformer exercise flow from the mat repertoire, but they may slightly differ,” says Jodie.

You will encounter new moves on the Reformer, but there should be plenty that are familiar.

3. You should still book a taster

Even if some of the moves will be familiar, the Reformer machine itself won’t be. It’s not very complicated, but you will need to learn how to use the different springs and straps, and adjust the carriage. A taster session will teach you the basics.

4. You’ll get a good workout

As anyone who’s ever spent a mat class doing the hundred, teaser and double leg stretches knows, Pilates can work you hard – particularly when it comes to the core.

Reformer can work you even harder.

That’s because you’ll be performing those familiar movements with added resistance. “Mat Pilates uses your body weight whilst the Reformer adds resistance to the Pilates exercise with the use of springs,” explains Jodie.

5. It’s suitable for beginners

If you’re right at the start of your Pilates journey, you can still get a lot out of Reformer. As we mentioned, the machine contains adjustable springs. You can use these springs to adjust the level of resistance, making movements easier until you build strength.

And, in fact, a Reformer machine will actually support your body. If there are Pilates exercises you struggle with in your mat class, you may find them easier on the Reformer!

6. You’ll build extra balance and body awareness

You can improve your balance in any Pilates class. A Reformer Pilates class takes part on a moving carriage, adding an element of instability, which will push you even further.

7. Reformer Pilates is not just a trend

Give the number of celebrities getting into Reformer Pilates, it’s easy to assume this is a hot new trend – and one that may eventually fade away.

In fact, the original machine was invented by Joseph Pilates, and it still works on largely the same principles. The equipment and the movements have been refined and perfected over the years. One thing is for sure – will all its benefits, Reformer Pilates is very much here to stay.

Get started with Reformer Pilates

We offer Reformer Pilates at several of our Clubs, along with mat Pilates, yoga and much more! Discover the range of exercise classes at David Lloyd Clubs.