Studio classes vs Mat Classes...what to expect.
27th June 2019
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Pilates mat classes are very popular, and you can usually find these at your gym or often in your local church hall.  Mat classes are taught using a mat and sometimes with other pieces of small equipment including hand weights or Pilates circles.  The class follows an order of exercises depending on which level you are working at, typically beginner, intermediate and advanced.  The exercises take your body through a range of movements teaching you to lengthen and strengthen the muscles whilst also keeping them under control.  Often there is a misconception that mat work is just gentle stretching exercises, but this is far from the truth, especially when undertaking a traditional Pilates class as we teach at DY Pilates.  Expect to feel like you have had a good full body work out even when following the beginner’s orders.  Mat classes can be modified to suit most clients, however if you have any injuries or health issues then a class environment might not be the best place for you to start and private lesson maybe more suitable.  

Studio classes are taught in a Pilates studio as the equipment is very specialist and not easy to move around.  There are various pieces of apparatus in the studio which you will get to work on, and they include the following:

Reformer - this has a moving platform which is attached to springs to create resistance.  There are straps attached to use either with your arms or legs and the amount of resistance can be changed by adding of removing the number of springs.  Like the mat work, you will follow a series of exercises depending on which level you are working at.

Tower - this is attached to the wall and has springs connected so that you can work on strengthening the body using resistance.  There are different strength springs for different parts of the body e.g. leg springs are stronger than the arm springs.  There are not set routines for the Tower work, but you will still be taken through a series of movements working on the whole body.

Chairs - we have two chairs in the studio, the Wunda Chair and the Baby Armchair.  These both have springs attached, the Armchair has light springs on, but these still give you a good workout!  There are no set orders of exercises for these two pieces of equipment, but both will work the entire body.

In the Studio classes you will usually start off either on the Reformer or on the mat following the exercise orders you are working on.  Whilst undertaking the exercises I will be watching what is going on and will be noting which movements your body needs additional work on to help you improve.  Once you have finished your routine, I will then take you onto another piece of equipment, either the Tower, Chairs or small barrels to work on those areas.  There are a maximum of 3 people in a studio class.

It is always benficial to have at least one private lesson before joining a class just so you have an understanding of the equipment and so that I can watch the way your body moves and know how Pilates can help you in the best way.

Both the mat classes and the studio classes are great ways to learn Pilates.  The studio classes are tailored towards each individual more as there are other pieces of apparatus there to be used and you work at your own pace.  You will also still learn mat work during the studio classes. Everyone works together during the mat work and exercises are modified if needed. Expect to get a very good workout in both classes and to be challenged within your capabilities.

Please check out my Facebook [dypilates] and Instagram [dy_pilates] pages for photos and videos of the equipment in use.

For more information or to book a class contact

About the Author

darren y

Member since: 19th January 2015

I am a classically trained Pilates instructor with a private studio based in Hednesford. My studio contains classical equipment including the Reformer, Tower, Arm Chair, Wunda Chair and Spine Corrector....

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