The Surprising Truth: Is Pilates Resistance Training?

As you begin your Pilates journey, the question of ” Is Pilates resistance training or strength training” ? Might feel confusing to you …

Everyone is doing Pilates these days, from athletes to celebrities and you’re probably wondering if Pilates is resistance training? And, will Pilates workouts help you reach your fitness goals faster? 

So what is Pilates? Pilates helps you build core strength, prevent injuries, and  develop a mind-body connection to creating muscular endurance like no other workout could offer.  

That’s why I created this comprehensive guide. We’ll talk about every tiny detail to answer the million dollar questions: Is Pilates resistance training?

We’ll dive into: 

Is pilates resistance training?

Is pilates resistance training or strength training?

Pilates vs Weight training? 

Is Reformer Pilates resistance training?

Is Pilates resistance training good for weight loss? 

By the end of this guide, you will fully understand is Pilates resistance training? And what Pilates can do for you!

Is Pilates a Form of Resistance Training?

Is Pilates Resistance Training

Pilates offers more than just flexibility and bending; it serves as an effective form of resistance training. By strengthening muscles, enhancing mobility, and expanding joint range of motion, Pilates provides a comprehensive workout. Unlike traditional weightlifting exercises like bench presses or squats that rely on weights for resistance.

Pilates utilizes body weight and specialized equipment such as springs to challenge your muscles. The controlled movements in Pilates engage various muscle groups beyond just the core. Although it differs from typical gym workouts, Pilates still falls under the category of resistance training due to its unique approach and focus on building strength through controlled movements.

The Principles Behind Pilates Resistance Training

There are six key principles in Pilates: Breath, Concentration, Control, Precision, Centering and Flow. These principles serve as the foundation of a successful Pilates practice and it is highly recommended to understand and incorporate them into your workouts. By embracing these principles, you will elevate your Pilates experience and witness remarkable changes in your body. It’s important to note that building muscle mass is not the primary objective of Pilates; however, you will undoubtedly develop strength, endurance, and stamina through consistent practice. The focus lies on utilizing these principles to execute each exercise effectively for optimal results.

Different Types Of Pilates Resistance Workouts

Is Pilates Resistance Training

When it comes to Pilates there are different types of Pilates. There is: 

Classical Pilates, also referred to as traditional Pilates, was devised by Joseph Pilates and adheres to a distinct sequence of exercises. Every movement is executed with precision and control, representing the most authentic rendition of Pilates.

Contemporary Pilates, also referred to as Modern Pilates, takes inspiration from the Joseph Pilates method. In this approach, Pilates Teachers incorporate functional exercises like lunges, squats, and hip thrusts to enhance the user-friendly nature of the workouts.

Each one of these Pilates workouts can be done at  home or a Pilates studio on a Pilates mat with fitness props such as a: Pilates ball, Pilates ring, Resistance band and light dumbbells. You will use your own body weight and fitness props  as resistance while you workout. 

Alternatively you can sign up for a Pilates class at a Pilates studio where you can use professional Pilates Equipment such as: Pilates Reformer, Pilates tower, Pilates chair, Pilates cadillac and Pilates ladder barrel. All the Pilates equipment will utilize springs to create resistance while you exercise. 

At home workouts and Pilates studio workouts differ primarily in terms of cost. At home Pilates workouts are a more budget-friendly option compared to the $25-$40 per class fee at a Pilates studio. Achieving an equally effective workout can be accomplished in the comfort of your own home.

Is Pilates Resistance Training or Strength training? 

Is Pilates Resistance Training

Pilates can serve as a form of strength training, depending on an individual’s fitness goals and current level of fitness. There is no one-size-fits-all answer as everyone has different objectives. For instance, if a woman who recently gave birth wants to enhance her posture and strengthen her core and pelvic floor, Pilates exercises can be effective.

However, once she has established some initial strength through Pilates workouts, she will need to progressively challenge herself in order to continue building muscle. At this point, incorporating weight training into her weekly workout routine would be beneficial to prevent hitting a plateau in her progress. Ultimately, the effectiveness of Pilates as a strength training method varies from person to person based on their specific needs and goals.

Pilates Resistance Training: My Journey To A Stronger Body

When I first started doing Pilates in 2011, I was carrying around an extra 10 pounds and had zero muscle tone. But once I took my very first Pilates class, I was instantly hooked. Determined to see results, I committed to doing Pilates workouts 3-4 times a week and made some positive changes to my diet and daily routine. As time went on, the benefits of Pilates became evident. My friends began noticing improvements in my posture and even commented that I looked taller. Not only that, but my thighs started slimming down and my stomach began shrinking. It felt amazing! However, after about a year of consistent Pilates practice, progress came to a screeching halt.

No matter how much Pilates, the weight just wouldn’t budge any further. Frustration set in as it seemed like all my efforts were going unrewarded. Looking back now, it’s clear what mistake I made – neglecting weight training. At the time, though, I disliked lifting weights because of the fear of getting bulky muscles. Little did I know that incorporating weight training into my routine would actually help me reach my fitness goals faster. After years of spinning my wheels with no progress, everything finally clicked for me.

My current workout regimen consists of two to three sessions of Pilates per week along with two to three days dedicated solely to weight training. And let’s not forget about one day reserved for surfing – another activity that brings joy while keeping me active. Don’t make the same mistakes I did! By adding functional weight training  twice a week you will see FAST results versus only doing Pilates workouts.

Key Takeaway: Pilates isn’t just about flexibility; it’s a powerful form of resistance training that strengthens muscles and boosts mobility. Using your body weight and specialized equipment, Pilates engages smaller postural muscles differently than traditional strength workouts, fostering better body awareness while building lean muscle mass without bulkiness. So besides getting stronger with each session, you’re also working towards improved posture and overall health.

The Science Behind Pilates Resistance Training

Is Pilates Resistance Training
Mat Pilates Workout Using a Small Pilates Ball

So, you’ve been hearing about Pilates resistance training and wondering what the science is all about? Well, it’s not rocket science but some neat body mechanics. Let me give you a lowdown on this.

Pilates Can Improve:

Mat Pilates leverages your own body weight to provide resistance. Reformer Pilates uses springs to create resistance. This way, every movement in a Pilates workout becomes a strength exercise that builds muscle mass while improving core muscles stability.

Your mind-body connection enhances control over movements which eventually boosts muscle strength. And hey, don’t forget the magic of breathing techniques here – deep inhales and exhales help activate your deep core, pelvic floor muscles too.

Besides just building muscular strength though, these workouts also improve endurance by challenging your muscles consistently.

A Surprise for Your Bones: Increased Bone Density

Guess what else gets stronger as we add pilate exercises to our fitness goals? Our bones. Yep, they’re no wallflowers at this party. Just like any other form of resistance or weight training program can increase bone density, so does Pilates.

You might be asking how this works? So when our bodies undergo stress during workouts (don’t worry; it’s good stress.), they respond by making our bones denser. Now imagine giving that superpower to someone who needs it more than ever – say women battling osteoporosis?

Muscle Soreness – The Badge Of Honor

We’ve all felt sore after an intense session at the gym. But here’s a surprising fact – this soreness, technically called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), is actually a sign of your muscles getting stronger.

When you start Pilates strength training or increase the intensity of your workouts, it causes microscopic damage to muscle fibers. This sounds scary but hold on. It’s our body’s way of saying ‘I can fix this’ and boom. Your muscles rebuild themselves stronger than before.

Pilates Exercises for Building Core and Pelvic Floor Strength

If building core strength is on your agenda, then adding pilates to your workout plan is a must-do. A typical pilates workout involves muscle contractions with controlled movements that focus heavily on strengthening the postural muscles around the spine.

You see, this kind of exercise not only works those deep abdominal muscles but also promotes mind-body connection and increased muscular endurance – all vital components in achieving formidable core strength. Check out my core strengthening workout video which offers some great insights into different pilates exercises targeting the abs.

Achieving Better Posture Through Pilates Workouts

But what about improving posture? Well, believe it or not, many people overlook their posture when working out. However – and here’s where our trusty friend ‘Pilates’ comes in again – focusing more attention on certain areas during workouts (like back muscles) can work wonders for overall body alignment and strength. 

The strong focus that Pilates puts on these crucial areas aids in correcting imbalances caused by daily life habits such as sitting at desks or carrying heavy bags. And guess what else? It may even help reduce onset muscle soreness after intense sessions.

Key Takeaway: Pilates resistance training isn’t rocket science – it’s all about body mechanics. By leveraging your own body weight and specialized equipment, every Pilates movement becomes a strength-building exercise that improves muscle mass and core stability. Plus, deep breathing techniques activate deeper postural muscles. Not just muscle power, these workouts also increase bone density and improve endurance by consistently challenging your muscles.

How To Create A Pilates and Strength Training Routine

Creating a weekly workout plan that incorporates both Pilates exercises and strength training can help you shed pounds FAST!  The key lies in finding the right balance when selecting your exercises. You have the option of doing at home Mat Pilates workouts using small fitness props or doing Pilates reformer workouts. To begin, I suggest dedicating two days each week to full body Pilates sessions, while also incorporating two days for strength training. 

It’s important to remember that allowing your muscles ample time to recover is crucial after weightlifting or mat pilates / reformer classes. This means including rest days within your schedule as well. For optimal results, split your strength training into upper body and lower body sessions on separate days. Lastly, don’t forget about fueling your body with proper nutrition to enhance energy levels and stamina during workouts – check out my FREE 7-day meal plan designed specifically for weight loss purposes!

Crafting The Perfect Pilates and Strength Training Routine: Step By Step

  • Determine Your Fitness Goals: Be clear on what exactly you’re hoping to achieve – more muscular endurance? Increased core strength ? Better posture? Improve mobility? 
  • Choose Your Exercises: Decide on the Pilates exercises and strength exercises that will help you meet your goals. For Pilates this could include a mix of mat Pilates and reformer exercises. Check out my strength training routine below. 
  • Workout Props: All you need is a set of dumbbells and a Pilates mat to get started. As you become stronger invest in small props such as a Pilates ring or Pilates ball.
  • Schedule Workouts: Plan when and how often to do these workouts in your week, keeping rest days in mind. I recommend taking a day off in-between workouts to give your body time to recover. 

Don’t sweat if your initial routine isn’t flawless. Instead, stay open to tweaks and improvements along the way. As you stay committed, there’ll be a noteworthy improvement in the shape and power of your muscles. Keep pushing.

Beginner Pilates Workout Video:

Lower Body Strength WorkoutRepsSets SpeedRest
Bodyweight Cossack Squat8-102-3slow45 sec
Glute Bridge With Hip Band8-102-3slow45 sec
Fire Hydrant8-102-3slow45 sec
Bird Dog8-102-3slow45 sec
Swiss Ball Leg Curl8-102-3slow45 sec
Bulgarian Split Squat8-102-3slow45 sec
Goblet Squats8-102-3slow45 sec
Elevated Pigeon Stretch 2-4 1slow 45 sec

Upper Body Strength WorkoutRepsSets SpeedRest
Anchored Lat Stretch8-102-3slow45 sec
Resistance Band Pass through8-102-3slow45 sec
Resistance Band High Pull Apart8-102-3slow45 sec
Resistance Band Face Pull8-102-3slow45 sec
Push ups on Bench8-102-3slow45 sec
Dumbbell Chest Press8-102-3slow45 sec
Bent Over Dumbbell Row8-102-3slow45 sec
Cat Cow Stretch2-4 1slow 45 sec

Key Takeaway: Spicing up your workout routine with Pilates resistance training and strength training can be both fun and effective. This approach meshes weight training, core strengthening, and posture improvement exercises seamlessly into your fitness plan. Remember to listen to your body’s needs as you balance these workouts daily. Tailor the perfect regimen for yourself based on personal goals – from burning calories to muscle growth through hypertrophy training. Always make room for rest days in between intense sessions of lifting weights or Pilates classes.

Common Pilates Resistance Training Questions

If I had a penny for every time someone asked me these questions, I could have retired by now. Just kidding, I love Pilates and wouldn’t want to retire. Answering some of the most common Pilates questions below:

Pilates vs. Weight Lifting

Pilates and weight lifting are two different forms of exercise, each with its own benefits. While some individuals may choose to substitute weightlifting with Pilates due to personal preferences or injuries, it is important to recognize that they are not interchangeable. In Pilates workouts, the focus is on working against gravity or spring tension on a reformer machine rather than lifting heavy weights. This lighter resistance approach helps increase muscular endurance and promotes lean muscle tone without adding bulk. It is a more gentle form of exercise that can be suitable for those who find weightlifting uncomfortable or unpleasant.

One of the key aspects of Pilates is the mind-body connection. Unlike weightlifting which primarily targets specific muscles, every movement in Pilates engages multiple muscles, including deep postural ones often neglected by traditional exercises. The precision and control required in Pilates help develop overall strength while improving body awareness and coordination. Weightlifting, on the other hand, focuses on muscle hypertrophy training which aims to increase muscle mass quickly through progressively overloading the muscles. This can lead to increased strength but also has a higher potential for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

The mindset during these two forms of exercise also differs greatly. Weightlifters aim for complete muscle failure by pushing their limits and typically follow split body routines where specific muscle groups are targeted separately. In contrast, Pilates involves working multiple muscles simultaneously in a more holistic approach. Ultimately, choosing between Pilates and weightlifting depends on your fitness goals and current physical health status. If you prioritize improved mobility, core strength development, or if you have an injury that restricts heavy lifting activities, then incorporating Pilates exercises into your routine might be ideal for you. 

Is Pilates Cardio or Strength Training?

Pilates can surprisingly function as both a cardio workout and a strength-building exercise. Incorporating a jump board into your Pilates routine transforms it into a high-intensity cardiovascular activity. The jump board is attached to the reformer and acts as a trampoline, enabling various heart-pumping exercises. If you want to challenge yourself further, you can utilize light dumbbells during these workouts. This exercise not only offers a joint-friendly option but also raises your heart rate and induces sweating. Jumping on your back or side during this dynamic workout enhances both strength and cardio simultaneously. Next time you visit the Pilates studio, consider incorporating jump board exercises to elevate your fitness routine.

Is Reformer Pilates Resistance training?

Is Pilates Resistance Training

Yes, Pilates reformer workout is resistance training . In a reformer workout you use the springs to create resistance. Most reformers have 5 different levels of spring  resistance. You can use multiple springs at the same time to create a challenging full body workout. And by removing the springs on the reformer you can  create just as much of a challenge by leveraging body weight and gravity. It’s a win win!

Is Pilates Resistance Training Good For Weight loss? 

Yes, but It depends on your starting point. Are you 10 pounds or 30 pounds overweight? A consistent Pilates practice can help you lose weight initially along with eating healthy. However, after a couple months, you may hit a plateau. Keep in mind that having visible abs requires reducing body fat, which is achieved through healthy eating habits. Pilates can be a catalyst for adopting healthier routines and ultimately aiding in weight loss. To enhance your results, consider incorporating dumbbell exercises into your routine twice a week.

Can Pilates Replace Weight Lifting?

No, Pilates resistance training does not promote significant muscle growth like weightlifting. While it improves strength and posture, combining Pilates (2x/week) with strength training (3x/week) is recommended for optimal results.

Key Takeaway: Pilates is a form of resistance training that, unlike heavy weight lifting, uses gravity or spring tension to boost muscular endurance and create lean muscle tone. With its inherent mind-body connection, it engages multiple muscles including deep postural ones often overlooked by traditional exercises. While not as potent for burning fat as lifting weights, a consistent Pilates practice can still contribute to increased strength over time due to its load-bearing nature. Plus, controlled movements in Pilates sessions minimize the risk of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). So if you’re seeking a well-rounded workout that strengthens core muscles and improves posture with less risk of injury – consider adding Pilate resistance training into your routine.

Finding the Right Pilates Workout Program

As a certified Pilates teacher with twelve years of expertise, I can attest to the necessity of choosing an appropriate workout program or trainer. You want someone who will guide you in building lean muscle mass and increasing core strength while also helping you improve your mobility. 

Pick a Goal-Oriented Pilates Workout Program

When choosing a pilates workout program, make sure it aligns with your fitness goals. If you’re aiming for increased muscular endurance and improved posture, seek out classes that emphasize these aspects. The best instructors provide workout plans tailored to each individual’s needs. 

Evaluate Your Pilates Teacher Experience

A good pilates instructor has solid knowledge about biomechanics and breathing techniques that promote mind-body connection and enhance body awareness during workouts. Look for certifications from reputable organizations as evidence of their expertise.

Try Out Different Pilates Classes Before Committing

If possible, take several different classes before making up your mind. This way, you’ll get a sense of which teaching styles resonate most with you – whether they focus more on deep breathing practices or postural muscles engagement might matter greatly depending on your personal preferences.

In my own journey as both student and teacher in this discipline, I’ve found all these considerations crucial when selecting either Pilate’s class or trainer. Remember, the goal is to enhance your strength training regimen while also nurturing that vital mind-body connection.

Build A Strong, Defined Body With Pilates Workouts

Are you ready to begin your journey with Pilates? 

You can lose weight and build muscle with the right Pilates and strength workout routine. Finding the right balance between Pilates, strength training, and eating healthily is the KEY to reaching your fitness goals with a sustainable workout program. 

This is how I fixed my knee pain, lost 10 pounds of fat, and gained 10 pounds of muscle. And I can teach you all of this (hint: it’s not about doing endless crunches or planks) in my 1-to-1 online coaching program. 

12 Weeks of Pilates & Strength Training Program

This program teaches you EXACTLY how to build your Pilates foundation, create effective strength training workouts, and establish meal prepping systems to help you prepare delicious, quick meals. 

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