Fitness Articles

A Skeptic's Guide to Pilates

Think Pilates Isn't for You? Think Again!

1.8KSHARES
It may sound too good to be true, but let me clarify what Pilates does NOT do (these statements are backed by research conducted by the American Council on Exercise and other organizations):
  • Pilates is NOT a cardiovascular (aerobic) workout. Your heart rate may elevate somewhat during Pilates, but generally will not reach an aerobic level.
  • Pilates is NOT a substitute for strength training. Pilates does focus on the core muscles, but does not build muscle mass the way traditional strength training (using progressively increasing resistance levels) does.
  • Pilates is NOT a major calorie burner. Studies show that, on average, participants in a 50-minute Pilates mat workout burn between 175 calories (beginners) and 250 calories (advanced).
Therefore, Pilates should be an additional component to a well-rounded fitness program that includes cardio, strength training and flexibility. Pilates alone cannot be all of these things for you. It’s in a league all its own. So if you still have to do all those exercises on top of Pilates, what’s the point? This simple example will help you better understand one way that Pilates offers benefits that other exercises can’t.

Sit upright in your chair in a comfortable position. Place one or both palms on your abdomen. Now cough a few times. You should have felt your abdominal muscles tighten. Now, keeping your hands there, take a deep inhale through the nose. On your exhale, open your lips slightly and push all of that air out of your mouth as forcefully and slowly as possible, making your exhale audible (like a “whoooooo” or “seeeeeeee” sound). You should have felt the same muscles tighten as when you coughed. These are your deep, transverse abdominis muscle, which act as your body’s corset. When these muscles strengthen, your belly pulls in tighter and flatter. The deep, audible breathing that people do during Pilates (which you just tried a moment ago) helps hone in on the transverse abs in a way that no other exercise can. Pilates focuses on these deep muscles in each and every move you make, which is just one reason why they are so effective at strengthening the core.
Continued ›
‹ Previous Page   Page 2 of 3   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
1.8KSHARES

About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

x Lose 10 Pounds by October 8! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.