Hot Pilates vs Reformer Pilates: Which is Better?

Hot Pilates vs Reformer Pilates: Which is Better?

Pilates is a beautiful form of exercise that can be adjusted according to fitness level or injury and enables people of all ages to workout. There are multiple ways in which you engage in this practice, including hot Pilates and reformer Pilates. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of either of these, discover the differences they have and choose which one is better for you. 


What is Hot Pilates? 

Contrary to conventional reformer Pilates, hot Pilates is designed to incorporate a more cardio-intensive aspect into your regular routine. You’ll be going through your exercises in a heated room, with most classes aiming for 30℃ to 40℃. 

You may engage in hot Pilates at a studio, or you might do it at home. Typically, you’ll go through your workout routine on a mat rather than with the use of a Pilates reformer


Benefits of Hot Pilates

The benefits of utilising heat during your Pilates workout include increased blood flow and an elevated heart rate, which can make it a more intense exercise for your cardiovascular system. The reason is that, rather than being an anaerobic workout that uses stored body fat, it uses more oxygen in your blood for energy. Incorporating higher heat into your Pilates workout can also loosen up tight muscles and enable an increased range of motion when you’re stretching. 


Risks of Hot Pilates

As with any hot environment, whether it’s hot yoga or an infrared sauna, certain people can struggle with the temperature. If you have a heart condition or have particularly high or low blood pressure, the extreme heat can cause lightheadedness and is best avoided. 


Similarly, if you’re pregnant, hot Pilates may not be right for you until after your baby has arrived. Your body will already be working harder to pump blood, and high temperatures can be risky when you’re pregnant. 

If you do have any health concerns or are on any medications, it’s advisable that you speak to your general practitioner first to find out if hot Pilates is safe for you. 


What Equipment do I need? 

The equipment you’ll need for hot Pilates will depend on whether you’re going to a class in a studio or working out at home. If you’re going into a studio, you’ll want to take your own mat, a water bottle and a sweat towel. 

If you’re working out at home, you’ll need a way to generate enough heat to induce a sweat. We recommend picking either the sunniest room in your home or a small room that can easily be heated up quickly. You’ll likely also want a heater to increase the overall temperature in the space you’re working out in. Choosing an infrared heater is your best choice as it’ll heat you more deeply and effectively than an oil or gas heater. You’ll also need either a mat or a Pilates reformer, depending on which you prefer. 


What is Reformer Pilates? 

Reformer Pilates involves exercising with a reformer machine. It’s a flat, bed-like structure that has a sliding platform and straps with adjustable resistance that deliver a full-body workout. It combines balance, breathing techniques, and intentional, precise movements. 


Benefits of Reformer Pilates 

There are a number of benefits to be gained from reformer Pilates. They span from better spine alignment and improved posture to leaner and more toned muscles and better balance. The strong mind-body focus that reformer Pilates incorporates can also support better focus and improved mood. 

Many people experience better sleep, along with the ability to fall asleep more quickly, too. Reformer Pilates, when conducted at a normal temperature, is an anaerobic exercise, meaning that it doesn’t utilise oxygen from your blood. Instead, it takes energy from fat stores, making it more accessible to people who may struggle with higher-intensity workouts. 


Risks of Reformer Pilates

The main risk associated with reformer Pilates is if the exercises are not performed correctly. You’ll need to maintain good posture throughout the workout, as leaning heavily into specific muscles can cause strain or exacerbate existing postural problems. 


Aside from posture, ensuring that you’re using the correct resistance level for your ability is important. If you find your muscles are shaking or you can’t comfortably make smooth movements, the resistance is likely too high and will need to be adjusted. 


What Equipment do I need? 

The main piece of equipment you’ll need for reformers Pilates is a reformer machine. Having one at home enables you to work out whenever you want. Beyond that, you’ll likely want a towel and some Pilates socks that help with grip when you’re doing leg exercises. If you haven’t been to a reformer Pilates class before, setting up a laptop at home with a tutorial online is a wonderful way to get started. 


What is the Difference between Hot Pilates and Reformer Pilates? 

The key difference between hot Pilates and reformer Pilates is that the former is done on a mat in a heated room, while the latter uses a reformer machine at a standard temperature. They both offer a full-body workout, but hot Pilates has a slightly higher intensity, while the focus of using a reformer is posture, balance, and breathing. 


How to Do Hot Pilates or Reformer Pilates at Home

Whether you’re interested in engaging with hot Pilates or reformer Pilates at home, there are a few ways you can create the perfect setup. For hot Pilates, achieving a higher body temperature is key to making it a more challenging and cardiovascular-focused workout. In summer, you might be able to heat a room to a higher temperature without much effort. However, achieving the same results in winter can be more of a challenge, which is why we recommend the use of an infrared sauna before you begin. 

First, set your at-home infrared sauna to 40℃ and allow yourself to soak up the heat for around 20 minutes. You’ll want to wait until you can feel your skin is warm to the touch and you have a light sweat. Then, you can get onto your mat and commence your Pilates routine. If you find you’re cooling down too quickly, you may wish to break your workout in half and take a ten-minute break in your sauna again to warm back up for the full effect. 

For at-home reformer Pilates, you’ll need to choose a reformer machine. You may still want to do a gentle warm-up before your session to ensure your muscles are loose and ready for exercise. Following a tutorial online or going through your own routine is the perfect option for reformer Pilates at home. There are foldable reformers available, meaning you can easily store them after you’re finished. 

Whether you’re enjoying the muscle-relaxing benefits of hot Pilates or the mind-body unifying experience that reformer Pilates can offer, it’s a wonderful option for bodies of all ages and abilities. For help or recommendations in choosing the perfect reformer or infrared sauna, you can contact us anytime.