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Pilates Apparatus vs. Pilates Mat: precise, effective body-strengthening tools!

Updated: Nov 16

Pilates is an exercise method that aims to strengthen the body, improve flexibility, posture, and promote body awareness. It focuses on strengthening core muscles, including abdominal, lumbar, and pelvic muscles, while encouraging coordination and controlled breathing. Pilates can be practised on a mat (Pilates Mat) or using specific apparatus (Pilates Apparatus).



What are the differences between Pilates Mat and Pilates Apparatus?

Pilates Mat and Pilates Apparatus are two different approaches to Pilates.


The most obvious difference lies in the equipment used. Pilates Mat is mainly practiced on a yoga mat with small accessories, while Pilates Apparatus uses machines. The machines are equipped with adjustable springs that offer variable resistance during the exercises, making it possible to personalize the intensity of the workout and work on strengthening as well as stretching in the same exercise. Pilates Mat, on the other hand, relies more on bodyweight resistance.


The machines allow a greater variety of exercises due to their multiple possibilities of use. They offer options for more precise strengthening of specific muscle groups and more advanced stretching, all supported by the machines.

Pilates on machines allows you to perform movements without being dependent on gravity, while Pilates Mat uses body weight and gravity for muscle strengthening and stretching.


Pilates Apparatus machines also offer support and assistance during exercises, which can be beneficial for beginners or people with mobility problems. Pilates instructors can also make more precise corrections using the machines. In the Pilates Mat, there is no mechanical support, and exercises rely more on the individual's ability to maintain correct form.



What are the different types of Pilates Apparatus?

Apparatus are designed to facilitate and intensify Pilates exercises. Here are some of the most commonly used apparatuses:

  • Reformer: The Reformer is one of the most iconic pieces of Pilates equipment. It consists of a carriage sliding on rails with adjustable resistance springs. It allows you to perform exercises in lying, sitting and standing positions. With hands or feet in straps, movements can be performed in greater amplitudes than usual.

  • Cadillac (or Trapeze Table): The Cadillac is a structure with bars and springs that allow Pilates exercises to be performed in different positions. It offers stable support and assistance to improve flexibility and strength.

  • Chair (or Wunda Chair): The Chair is a compact apparatus that resembles a chair, but with resistance springs. The chair, also known as a "stability chair", is used with its reduced surface area to strengthen legs, arms and core by performing a variety of seated or standing exercises.

  • Ladder Barrel: The Ladder Barrel is a curved bench with an integrated ladder. It is used to improve spinal flexibility and to perform strengthening exercises with greater amplitude.

  • Ped-o-Pull (or Guillotine Tower): The Ped-o-Pull is an apparatus that is mainly used to work on balance and strengthen standing shoulders.

  • Spine Corrector (or Small Barrel): The Spine Corrector is a small, curved bench that helps improve posture, spinal flexibility and core strength.

  • Pilates Magic Circle (or Fitness Circle): Although not an apparatus per se, the Magic Circle is an accessory commonly used in Pilates classes to add core engagement to various exercises.



These apparatus are designed to be used under the supervision of a qualified Pilates instructor like you'll find in our Time2Pilates Studio. They offer a variety of options for tailoring training to individual needs and goals, whether for rehabilitation, muscle toning, improving flexibility or general well-being.


In conclusion, although Pilates Mat and Pilates Apparatus have their differences, they are also highly complementary. Pilates Apparatus stands out for its ability to target and offer precision in muscle strengthening and rehabilitation. This approach is ideal for those looking to work on specific muscles and refine their technique. On the other hand, Pilates Mat is an excellent way to develop stability, coordination and flexibility. For a complete fitness program, many people choose to combine the two approaches.


At Time2Pilates, we offer you the opportunity to enjoy the unique benefits of each of these methods in our personalized sessions. Our studio is fully equipped with all Pilates Apparatus to meet your specific needs.


You can find out more about our Pilates Appartus offers by following this link.

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