The Pros and Cons of Pilates Mat Workouts
Posted November 30, 2021
Mat Pilates is a great place to start your Pilates journey. Unlike reformer Pilates, a mat Pilates class requires nothing more than you, your mat, and your instructor, and you can still enjoy a great whole-body workout!
In some cases, however, mat Pilates doesn’t always provide the same benefits as the Pilates reformer would – and vice versa. Understanding how mat Pilates works your body, the benefits it offers, and the pros and cons of Pilates mat workouts can help you make a more informed decision when starting Pilates.
Contemplating a mat Pilates class to kick your fitness levels up a notch? Here are the major pros and cons of mat Pilates.
The Pros of Mat Pilates
The main benefit of mat Pilates is its ability to tone muscles throughout your body. This refers to the process by which muscle fibers increase in size, becoming denser and harder. Because you’re lifting your own body weight, this type of toning offers less strain on joints and ligaments than other forms of exercise, but still offers great results.
Similar to aerobic workouts, four to five classes per week of mat Pilates can yield excellent muscle toning over time. This process begins at the cellular level, where your body activates proteins within your muscle cells called actin and myosin. These actin-myosin complexes shorten the length of your muscles, which causes them to thicken as more actin-myosin complexes activate.
Like any workout routine that helps you burn fat, mat Pilates can keep your body leaner and firmer over time. However, the simplicity of the exercise means that you’re less likely to lose muscle tone or endurance than with other workouts – which can actually cause you to gain weight after weeks of inactivity. Because your body retains its shape for long periods of time, you’ll feel more confident about how you look.
One study shows that people who regularly partake in exercise classes are better at determining their own level of fitness than those who go it alone or rarely work out. So if your doctor told you that he thought you had high blood pressure, for example, but wanted to double-check before prescribing medication; regular Pilates workouts might enable him to detect higher levels without putting you on any medication at all.
Mat Pilates offers these sorts of benefits to your body and mind over time if practiced regularly.
The Cons of Mat Pilates
More Difficult than it Looks
If you’re used to working out in a gym, mat Pilates can be more difficult than aerobic workouts such as running or indoor cycling. This is because your core muscles are not only supporting the movement of your arms and legs – they’re also holding your body upright without the help of weights. That means that just by standing up and holding yourself in place, you’re using muscles usually reserved for crunches and planks!
This makes mat work harder than it looks; however, with practice (and proper instruction), you can learn to engage your core muscles in new ways that work out problematic muscles while the more friendly ones get a break.
Lack of Pilates Equipment
While you can take a mat Pilates class without any equipment, many people benefit from using additional Pilates tools during their workout routines.
These tools increase the workload of each exercise on certain muscle groups, working them harder and providing targeted toning for more defined results over time. While some styles of mat Pilates do not use these tools at all – others may offer them only sparingly.
Take a Mat Pilates Class at Club Pilates
Club Pilates and Wellness offers a range of mat Pilates classes to suit your individual level of experience and expertise. We provide all the necessary equipment for you to achieve optimal results.
If you’re ready to give mat Pilates a try, join us today! To find out more about our schedules and pricing options, check out our studio pages.