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I'm a huge fan of Pilates, both mat and reformer. I've recently been focusing more on mat Pilates at home and while traveling, but I just absolutely love reformer as well! Both forms are low impact and excellent for strength, flexibility, mobility, balance, and suitable for all levels, including those in rehabilitation. But which one is better? To find out, I sat down for a coffee chat with Millie Pryor, one of London’s most celebrated Pilates teacher.

Millie highlighted the current trend of Pilates fusion classes and apps, which can be confusing. She advocates for classic Pilates, practiced both on the mat and the reformer. She recommends starting with mat Pilates to build a solid foundation. She says that understanding mat Pilates first will significantly enhance the experience when transitioning to the reformer.

Mat Pilates

Mat Pilates is ideal for beginners, using body weight as resistance. But don’t be fooled, advanced mat is very challenging as it requires complete control over your body without any help from springs and handles.

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  • Easy to start and less intimidating.

  • Can be done anywhere.

  • Abundant online resources.

  • Good for learning correct form.

  • Economical.


  • Risk of injury in advanced moves without proper strength.

  • May feel repetitive.

Reformer Pilates

Reformer Pilates is great because it can make exercises harder by adding resistance, but it can also make them easier by giving support. Many of the exercises on the reformer are just like the ones you do on the mat, but with a twist to either increase or decrease the challenge.


  • More variety in workouts.

  • The resistance can help or challenge you.

  • Targets different body parts effectively.

  • Great for muscle building.

  • Offers more workout modifications.


  • May be intimidating at first.

  • More room for error and bad form.

  • More expensive classes and equipment.

  • Requires significant space.

  • Fewer online resources available.


Mat and reformer Pilates each have their own strengths. Mat Pilates is easy to access and lays the foundation, while reformer Pilates spices things up with more variety and intense muscle training. The best part? You don't have to pick just one – they complement each other perfectly and both deliver incredible results!



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