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Reformer Pilates is an endurance and strength based exercise program that is designed to achieve a variety of fitness goals from strength building, muscle toning, flexibility and weight loss. Reformer Pilates is performed on a specialised piece of equipment that is essentially a spring loaded, resistance bed that allows the user to perform a variety of body-weight exercises with an added resistance element equating to a extremely intense work out. The program was developed by Joseph Pilates, the namesake of the exercise and is often considered the more intense of the two versions of Pilates (mat and reformer).
Obviously the core difference between mate and reformer Pilates is that reformer Pilates involves the use of a piece of equipment, but it is also the more intense and technically difficult of the two types. Mat Pilates, as the name suggests is performed on a mat on the ground and has some similarities with Yoga but is more focused towards strength, flexibility and fitness improvements without the spiritual element. Reformer Pilates is far more intense that Mat Pilates and has a higher barrier to entry, because Reformer Pilates involves resistance the exercises are more difficult and intense, generally you would expect to experience greater fitness gains through Reformer Pilates in oppose to Mat Pilates. Mat Pilates can technically be performed in the home with no equipment and an online guide where as Reformer Pilates requires an expensive piece of equipment and the knowledge of how to use it. To successfully undertake Reformer Pilates the vast majority of people will need to attend a class run by a professionally trained instructor. For a beginner both are suitable, however it may be wise for someone just starting out to try Mat Pilates first as it is slightly easier. This being said Reformer Pilates and the equipment can scale to accommodate a variety of fitness and strength levels.
Reformer Pilates can yield a wide range physical benefits including:
- An increase in muscle strength and endurance
- The right exercises can assist with posture
- An increase and improvement in core strength
- Increases and improvements in flexibility
- Better joint mobility and a radically can be achieved with reduced stiffness in various points of connection in the body
- Reduction in body fat and building of lean muscle