We’ve all heard of Pilates but I think the biggest question that comes up is; What’s the difference between mat and equipment Pilates?

Wednesday, August 07 2013

I think the best way to answer this is by going back to the origins of Pilates.

The term Pilates is actually named after Joseph H Pilates who was born in Germany in 1883. A sickly childhood led Pilates to pioneer his unique training system, with which he hoped to rid all of his students of physical limitations. He spent time in a camp hospital during World War 1 where he worked with patients to employ the springs in the hospital beds to create rehabilitation equipment.

Pilates migrated to the United States in 1925. His studio just happened to be housed in the same building as a number of dance studios. Naturally the dancers flocked to learn the method and they were soon followed by many devotees. But Pilates had the intention that his unique system of physical conditioning, originally known as Contrology, was to be practiced by everyone.

Pilates is uniquely adaptable and the moves in the method were created to address total fitness. Each exercise has a strength component as well as a flexibility component.
In its first incarnation Pilates consisted of floor exercises. Experimentation with springs and equipment followed.
The resistance created by the pulley and spring system can provide a more challenging strength and endurance workout than mat classes.

It may also provide visible results sooner; arm, leg and abdominal muscles can look more toned after a dozen or so regular sessions . The flexibility of equipment and the many attachments of the Pilates apparatus increase the range of modifications that can be made to the exercises and allow additional exercises beyond what can be offered on the mat. This combined with the support afforded by the resistance the machine provides allows people with limited range of motion or injuries to safely perform modified exercises.

I personally practice both mat and equipment Pilates and love the variety of exercises and the challenge and control required to work against the springs of the equipment.
The best way to know which form of Pilates is right for you is to give both a go and then see.

I look forward to seeing you in the studio!