Pilates is all over the place lately. If you look up 'pilates' and your town, I'm sure there will be at least 10 different businesses that come up. This is EXCELLENT for you - the more options there are, the more styles you have to try, and you can find the perfect style of Pilates for you and your goals.
So, what are the main styles of pilates that you might see?
1. Mat Pilates
This is probably the most common style that you might come across, because, given that you only need mats (and probably a few props like balls, bands etc) it can be done almost anywhere. Most gyms nowadays have a mat pilates class, as well as local rec centres, physio's, home studios, outdoor classes and more. Mat Pilates is based around doing predominantly body weight pilates moves on a mat. Simple in theory, spicy in execution - don't be fooled and think that this is an easy workout, because the tiny movements can make your muscles scream (for more ;)). Because of the limited equipment and space needed, mat classes are often the cheapest option for pilates.
2. Reformer Pilates
Reformer Pilates is definitely the style that is gaining the most traction lately, with studios popping up all over the place. These classes centre around the Reformer Machine - a spring loaded apparatus with a moving bed, straps, foot-bar and more! The combination of moves you can do on a reformer is endless, and because of the springs, a lot more weight can be added compared to body weight exercises. However that doesn't mean it's harder than mat - some moves are harder on the reformer, some are harder on the mat. Reformer classes are great for those who may have done a few mat pilates classes before, as there is a bit more going on equipment wise, that you want to feel confident in the instructors cues. Because of the limited spaces (only a set number of reformers), as well as the cost of the reformers, these classes are often more expensive than mat pilates classes.
3. Large Equipment Pilates - Cadillac, Chair, Barrel & Tower
I'm clumping all of this equipment together, because often if a studio offers large equipment classes, they have all of the above and use it in either a circuit style class, or a tailored program that you do under supervision (often with a few other people working through their own programs at the same time). This style of class is amazing for the variety it offers, working the same muscles in a wide variety of ways, and the tailored aspect of a personal program. These studios are definitely more boutique, and not as common as reformer studios, and as such their prices are often the highest of the bunch.
4. Bonus Note - Instructors
While this isn't a pilates style, it does need to be mentioned that your pilates class, regardless of style, will come down to your instructor and their personal teaching style. Some teachers are super upbeat, and love teaching a higher cardio class, while others prefer a slower flow style to their classes. Some instructors are very particular and aware of clients forms, while others might not be as experienced (yet!). Like anything, there will be instructors whose style you prefer, or who you gel with more - and that is the beauty of the industry growing, giving you more options.
So, next time you're thinking about doing a pilates class, maybe try a new style to your usual. Or, if you've done pilates and didn't love it, try another style before completely writing it off. It's a wonderful form of exercise and there is a style to suit everyone.
We offer private reformer pilates classes, as well as group mat classes - Book in online here to join today (under the group classes tab), or call us (08) 9448 2994.