In general, Pilates requires an individual to develop a strong connection between their mind and body. "Pilates is a workout that incorporates the full body by making sure the spine is moved in every direction, creating an emphasis on the core," says Vanessa Johnson, NCPT, director of education for Club Pilates. "Every workout is meticulously thought out, ensuring that the body is moving in all planes of motion. It's also a low-impact workout, meaning it's customizable for individuals who may have restrictions with other rigorous workout regimens."
According to Johnson, Pilates instructors use descriptive terminologies and concepts that help the client to create a strong level of awareness of where their body is in space, also referred to as proprioception. During a typical Pilates workout, there is a strong focus on building strength and stability in the core and the spine whether you're doing Pilates on the reformer or mat. Some of the most popular Pilates moves include swimmers, mermaids, bridges, twists, and side bends.
However, Armstrong shares that there are some slight differences between the two. "In mat Pilates classes, there is a lot of focus on holding the C-curve to strengthen the lower abdominals," he says. "In reformer classes, the focus is typically controlling eccentric movements."