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Pilates matwork or reformer?

It is common to think that Pilates is an easy, boring discipline, where you don't move much. I thought this myself for a long time, often refusing my mother's invitation to join her and her friends in practice.

Following a car accident and being forced to realize that at the age of 20, I was as mobile as a piece of wood, I decided to try Pilates. My ego took a hit, given that, being very sporty, I couldn't perform certain movements that my 60-year-old neighbor did perfectly. I'm not just talking about flexibility here, but really a lack of strength in the deeper muscles of the body.

Today, I am a Pilates teacher and I can say that it is this discipline that allowed me to regain my mobility and strengthen myself in depth.

pilates Bizanos


Pilates is a physical activity focused on deep muscle strengthening, without impact. Its inventor is a German named Joseph Pilates. Although many people are familiar with Pilates, few know that it is named after its creator.

It was in the 1920s that he developed his method, but the craze known today was far from being the case at the time. His success came during his emigration to the United States. Her Pilates studio is running at full speed despite the surprising teaching methods, starting with the outfit required during practice: wear as little clothing as possible, you have to see the muscles!

Joseph Pilates himself was a fan of practicing sports in minimalist clothing, going so far as to wear only underwear! However, the students come back, shocked of course, but confident, for the simple reason that many report great well-being after a session with Joseph. Whether seriously injured people, dancers or athletes, everyone can practice Pilates. Thanks to the movement, the practitioners regained their health but to Joseph's great disappointment, the medical world would never knight him because he did not have any medical qualifications.

Today, Pilates is practiced everywhere and Joseph was the precursor of the movement: never stop moving!


“In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference and in 30 sessions you will have a brand new body.” This is Joseph's promise, the Pilates effect.

This discipline aims for harmony. The inner harmony of the body, between all the muscles, with breathing, in short, the harmony between body and mind. In Pilates, precision of movement is important, as is awareness of the muscles used which forms the basis of this practice. Pilates is the art of self-control, offering the possibility of consciously mobilizing your body.

This method provides tone, flexibility and improves posture. You will gain strength, but not only that, because that is not enough, flexibility is just as important. A class is neither stretching alone nor strengthening alone, but both at the same time, both combined in each movement.

We now know that the best way to stop back pain is through movement. No matter what activity you do or choose to do, the main thing is that you get moving.


The Pilates matwork class takes place on a mat (“mat” meaning mat and “work” meaning work). I assure you, you will not practice in your underwear! A comfortable outfit in which you can move easily will do the trick very well.

During the classes, the exercises invented by Joseph Pilates for the mat are practiced, this is what we call the classic series. To this series is also added a so-called contemporary repertoire. These are preparatory or complementary movements developed by Joseph's students, who subsequently became renowned teachers, better known as "Elders". However, each Pilates teacher is different and can offer you a classical, contemporary repertoire or a mix of both. The goal remains the same: train the whole body. The names of the exercises are in English, because that is what Joseph named them. Your teacher can tell you the English name or translate it. In any case, it is important that you master this vocabulary to fully master the technique and progress in your practice.

There are several levels of Pilates matwork: beginner, intermediate and advanced. If you have no experience in Pilates or have only taken a few classes, I advise you to start with the beginner class. The intermediate course allows practitioners with at least one year of experience to improve the exercises. The advanced level is aimed at regular and experienced Pilates practitioners, who know the exercises and can easily follow the sequence during the class.

Joseph Pilates first designed exercises intended to be practiced on the floor, on a mat. Subsequently, he designed and then created devices with his hands that facilitated the practice of these exercises both by providing support and by providing resistance to the muscles. One of these machines is the reformer. It is made up of a sliding horizontal carriage, springs and straps, allowing practice in a sitting, lying or standing position. The straps can be grasped with the hands or the feet can slip through them. The training is complete and adaptable to all levels. The exercises use the resistance of the springs, generally six in number. Their intensity is adjustable and depends on the number of springs attached and their level of resistance.


Training on the mat and on the reformer machine are very complementary. This allows you to diversify the practice, but you are free to choose one or the other, or even both. In any case, you should not believe that exercises on mats are easier than those on reformers. Pilates will work well for both.

If this little article has made you want to practice Pilates, do not hesitate to contact me or book a class directly.


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