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About Pilates Equipment


Mat Pilates ATX also offers Private and Semi-Private Training on Mat, Reformer and Chair 

For individuals and couples (friends, siblings, partners and spouses), we offer semi-private and private Pilates training by appointment at a private home studio in Circle C Ranch in southwest Austin, Texas. We welcome beginners.

In private sessions, we design workouts to meet individual goals. Pilates sessions for two people are called "duets" or partner Pilates. Pilates private and semi-private "duet" sessions may use different Pilates apparatus including the mat, Pilates reformer, Pilates chair, and other equipment such as hand weights, weighted balls and props.  

Why the Pilates Mat is Equipment

One way to think about Pilates is that it’s a movement strategy for hundreds of full body exercises. Pilates exercises create strength and mobility by moving our spine through five shapes while controlling our arms and legs.


Similar Pilates exercises may feel different because of our body position. In a Pilates workout, we do exercises while standing, lying on our backs, lying on our stomachs, kneeling, or lying on our sides. If one of these positions doesn’t work for your body, there are other options.

Pilates equipment includes the mat, where our body is the first “machine” we learn to control. A mat doesn’t move. It might assist us by giving support; it might create resistance. The load on our muscles is a combination of body weight (you know when your legs feel HEAVY?) and gravity.


Different equipment might change our experience of the exercise, though our strategy remains more or less the same: focus, control, breathe, and move.


Pilates exercises challenge our strength and control when we:

  • Reduce stability

  • Remove assistance or support

  • Shrink our working surface area (for example, stand on one foot or lie on one side of your body)

  • Challenge our relationship to gravity (think about a pushup, our entire body moving up against gravity)

  • Add or remove weight or “load” to the muscles

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Why do Pilates with a reformer or chair?

In short: variety, resistance and assistance.

A Pilates reformer and Pilates chair create new ways to play with movement that aren't possible on the mat. Historically, Pilates equipment was created to support the shapes and movement of mat exercises.

It is interesting to know that everything we call Pilates was created to help people solve problems they felt in their bodies. Pilates today a large body of work that was informed by all kinds of movement including gymnastics, boxing, dance, calisthenics, and probably yoga.

(Do we have to make exercising a history lesson? No. Yet a lot of Pilates enthusiasts, both teachers and students, feel connected and inspired by its origin story and history, and we appreciate the equipment, exercises and body of work that was handed down from teachers to students.)

So is it harder to work out on Pilates equipment? 


It depends on the person and the exercise.

Sometimes Pilates equipment is supportive and makes things easier. For people who cannot easily get up and down from the floor, the reformer brings the floor to them.

Sometimes Pilates equipment makes exercises harder because it moves, gets heavier or lighter, and feels less stable.

Why would we want to do Pilates on a reformer, chair, Cadillac, tower, Pilatesstick or other apparatus?

The truth: it is mentally stimulating and full of physical challenges. You never stop learning.

And with that mindset about a mat or a machine, then doing Pilates is fun. It becomes a natural source of endorphins and hormones that enhance well-being. 

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