Most people correlate building muscle with getting bigger or “bulky”, but the two are different. What most women desire is achieving a more toned look . . . one where muscles are defined, but not significantly larger. [Read more…] about Building Muscle Without Getting Bulky
Before we answer this question, let’s get something straight . . . There are two types of Pilates – classical that uses just a mat, and weighted or resistance that uses machines.
Each type is addressed separately as both are different as far as if they can help you lose weight or not.
If you are talking about classical Pilates, then the answer is “No” … It is not an effective direct weight loss tool. However, it can indirectly help you lose weight by preparing your body to do cardio and strength training that will take off pounds that you might not otherwise be able to lose.
Pilates helps strengthen your body so you can do more types of training that are calorie burners and will ultimately help you lose weight, such as cardio and strength training.
With a decreased risk of injury, a stronger core, and more flexibility from doing Pilates, you can exercise longer and harder at doing something that does burn a lot of calories than you would have been able to do had you not practiced Pilates in the first place. Running on a treadmill, riding a bike, swimming and lifting weights are four exercises that are great calorie-burners.
While not a great calorie burner itself, classical Pilates does help shape your body by toning muscles especially around your midsection. So even if you don’t lose a significant amount of weight from doing Pilates, it does help you look like you have lost weight.
Weighted Or Resistance Pilates
On-the-other-hand, the type of Pilates that uses machines can result in significant weight loss when executed properly. Basically it is a strength training program that specializes on building core muscle mass.
And because we are talking about the abdominals, buttocks, upper and lower back, hips and thighs, these are large muscle groups that not only respond well to training, but are great at burning large amounts of calories.
When Pilates is coupled with body rings, resistance bands and light weights, not only do you burn calories with resistance Pilates, but you burn more calories when not exercising due to the larger muscle mass created which requires more energy to sustain itself.
A secondary effect experienced by many that practice both types of Pilates is a more self-awareness – a desire to take better care of their bodies. As a result, many make better food choices which result in a decreased number of calories consumed. Eating fewer calories, but yet burning the same amount as before results in even more weight loss.
So the answer to the original question is “Yes!” … Pilates can help you lose weight. While classical Pilates work at an indirect weight loss, resistance Pilates is better at direct weight loss – weight loss derived from doing Pilates itself.
Pilate’s is a low-impact method of exercising that focuses on building core strength, particularly in the abs and the muscles supporting the back, hips and thighs.
While some routines use specialized equipment to add resistance to its exercises, many routines are performed on a mat lying on the floor, meaning you can also practice this form of Pilates at home.
Increased Core Strength
Because all movements originate at the core, not only are the abs strengthened (giving you a flatter flat stomach), but also the muscles supporting the lumbar spine, legs and pelvic floor.
A strong inner core is the starting point … and from there the movements flow outward to develop the extremities.
Better Posture … Better Balance
Many injuries of the back are caused by poor posture. Sitting behind a desk eight hours a day is particular detrimental to good posture. Pilates can bring back your straight erectness that you had as a young adult.
Plus, because Pilates develops muscles equally, you’ll find that you’ll have better balance. Better balance means less chance of falling and suffering a debilitating injury.
Pilates target not only the back, but also front, sides, hamstrings and hips. By working these body parts through their full range of motion, joints become more flexible.
While yoga uses more of a static-type stretching (holding the stretch for up to 30 seconds), Pilates uses dynamic stretching (moving the joint and muscles through a full range of motion, but not holding the stretch).
More flexibility makes it easier to do common tasks like mop the floor, carry laundry and vacuum.
Decreased Back Pain
One of the common causes of back pain is bad posture. As noted above, Pilates improves posture and can alleviate back pain, before it progresses to an injury.
Back pain can also be caused by an imbalance of muscles – one muscle stronger than its opposing muscle. Because Pilates is especially good at improving postural asymmetries, back pain subsides once muscular balance is achieved.
These are only a tip of the iceberg as far as the health benefits that can be derived from Pilates. This exercise program makes a great pre-workout for loosening up muscles and joints in preparation for a more demanding cardio or weight training program.