Pilates is the not-so secret weapon for sculpting a long, lean physique and aside from the aesthetic benefits of the workout, this mindful movement practice is your answer for a stable, strong and supple body. From fixing your hunched, desk-bound posture to strengthening your pelvic floor post-birth, there isn’t much Pilates can’t do. But when looking around Pilates studios equipped with various 50 shades style machines and touting all kinds of names for their sessions, where do you even begin to know what style of Pilates is best for you? Let us break it down.
Best for: Athletic conditioning, resistance training and fast-track results
The reformer is generally the most loved of all Pilates styles. The kinda torturous looking contraption of springs, pulleys and carriage, gives a resistance workout that has gained an obsessive following. At first, it may appear like a horizontal way to get a workout in, but soon the bite of resistance will have you engaging like never before. Ideal for those looking to add some low impact resistance training into their schedule, the reformer’s spring loaded resistance offers both support and challenge to each expertly designed exercise. You’ll find an assisted range of motion helps to increase your flexibility, while you are on a fast track to strengthening your entire body thanks to this clever piece of machinery.
Best for: Pure bodyweight strength, the fundamentals and body awareness
The OG Pilates method requires zero equipment but maximum control and mindful attention in order to expertly execute the exercises. There’s nowhere to hide on the mat, so you’ll build pure functional bodyweight strength as you move through the engaging and activating Pilates matwork series. Many Pilates fans tend to overlook matwork Pilates in favour of the more glamorous reformer, however you’d be wrong in thinking this option is easier. The sole reliance on your own strength as you lengthen, pulse and hold brings about shaking muscles quicker than you think!
Best for: Upskilling and advancing your practice
Ready to level up? Then take your skills to the equipment studio where you can explore the Pilates playground that is the Cadillac, Chair and Barrel. Using the fundamentals of the practice, gained in Matwork or Reformer classes, studio Pilates offers the range for greater variations and advancements to the repertoire. You’ll challenge your true strength and refine control, co-ordination and balance skills as you move around the studio session.
Best for: Goal chasers and pre/post-natal mama’s
If you are chasing particular goals or require a bespoke program, then 1-1 Pilates is your best bet. While a group class is designed to cover all key Pilates principles and areas of the body, a personalised programme will cater the session directly to your body’s needs. These workouts will have you focused specifically on any areas of weakness and as you get hands on, individual attention, you may find you progress far quicker. 1-1 sessions are particularly great for pre and post-natal clients, who may need a little extra TLC to assist with the physical changes occurring during and after pregnancy.
Best for: Injury rehabilitation
Getting injured is absolutely no fun, but calling in a clinical Pilates specialist can make the progression back to full recovery a much easier process! Using functional anatomical knowledge and strengthening protocols, clinical Pilates will tailor a specific rehabilitation program to advance your healing and regain full strength and mobility. Be sure to look out for either a Physiotherapist led clinical session or find a trained rehabilitation Pilates practitioner to ensure you’re in the safest hands possible!
Best for: Those who can’t get into the studio
As we move into the digital age of fitness, at-home workouts and Pilates are a match made in accessible fitness heaven. The low-impact workouts require next to no space and depend only on a working internet connection! Ideal for stay-at-home mums, students, shift workers or those who just can’t get into their favourite class, many studios are now offering at-home programs or you can find plenty of streaming services such as Pilates Anytime. To get started, try out a Pilates Matwork core or healthy hips series.