Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on core muscle strengthening and stretching.
It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. The method involves using body weight exercises to strengthen and stretch muscles.
Pilates has become very popular over the years. Many celebrities swear by its benefits. Some even say it helps them stay fit and trim.
Pilates is a great workout for beginners who want to build strong core muscles. It also helps improve flexibility and posture.
But is Pilates considered strength training? In this article, we'll look at this in more detail along with everything else you need to know about Pilates.
What Is Pilates?
Joseph Pilates created the original version of what is now known as Pilates. He was an Austrian-born physical trainer who worked out of his own studio.
His methods focused on improving people's health through exercise. He believed that exercise could be used to help people relax after a stressful day.
The first book he published was called “Reformer” which contained exercises designed to strengthen the core muscles.
These are the same muscles that support your spine and pelvis. They're also responsible for keeping your back straight.
The Reformer Pilates Method is based around three main principles:
1) Control Breathing – This means breathing correctly during each move.
You should breathe in when you lift something heavy or push yourself away from the floor and breathe out when you lower yourself down again.
2) Correct Posture – Your head should always be held high. Don't let your shoulders drop forward. Instead, keep them up and back, so they don't interfere with your breathing.
3) Proper Alignment – Make sure your feet are flat on the ground. If you can't do this then use a mat instead. Your knees shouldn't bend past 90 degrees.
What Is Strength Training?
Strength training is any type of activity that strengthens muscles. It usually includes weight lifting and resistance training.
Weight lifting involves using free weights such as dumbbells, barbells and kettle bells.
How Does Pilates Compare To Strength Training?
Both Pilates and strength training focus on building core muscles. However, there are some key differences between these two forms of exercise.
Core muscles include the abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, obliques), hip flexors (iliopsoas, psoas major, quadratus lumborum), gluteus maximus, piriformis, erector spinae, diaphragm, pelvic floor muscles, internal and external oblique muscles, multifidus, levator scapulae and scalene muscles.
These muscles are essential for supporting your spine and maintaining good posture. They're also important for helping you sit upright.
Is Pilates Strength Training?
So, is Pilates better than other means of strength training such as using weights when enhancing and strengthening core muscles?
While Pilates undoubtedly helps to strengthen the core and improve posture, there are several reasons why strength training is better than Pilates for strengthening core muscles.
First off, Pilates focuses on stretching rather than strengthening. Stretching doesn't really work well if you're trying to tone your abs.
Secondly, it's not possible to isolate certain muscle groups when doing Pilates.
For example, you can't just work your transverse abdominis without working your other core muscles too.
Thirdly, Pilates isn't very effective for toning your thighs. That's because most of the time you'll be lying on your stomach.
When you're lying on your stomach, your legs will naturally stretch outwards. As a result, you won't have much control over how far apart your leg joints spread.
Finally, Pilates requires more equipment. You need at least one reformer machine, plus a few mats and straps.
In contrast, you only need a bench press, squat rack and barbell for strength training.
Should I Do Pilates Or Strength Training?
The best way to decide which form of exercise is right for you is to try both and see what works best for you.
If you want to get stronger, go for strength training. This is because strength training allows you to target specific areas of your body. Examples of strength training include:
- Bench Press
- Cable Pushdown
So, if you want to build muscle mass, you should consider going for strength training.
This allows you to increase your muscular endurance while targeting different parts of your body.
Benefits Of Pilates
Pilates is great for improving your flexibility, balance and posture. It's also an excellent workout for people with back problems.
Specific benefits of Pilates include
- Improves your posture
- Enhances your breathing
- Helps you relax
- Reduces stress
- Boosts your metabolism
- Increases your energy levels.
Benefits Of Strength Training
Strength training is great for building muscle mass. It's also good for weight loss. Other specific benefits of strength training include:
- Builds lean muscle mass
- Strengthens bones
- Burns calories
- Lowers cholesterol
- Improves cardiovascular health.
How To Use Pilates In Cross Training
You don't necessarily have to do Pilates every day. However, it does help to incorporate some Pilates into your cross-training routine.
Here are a few ways that you could use Pilates in your cross-training program.
First, do Pilates before cardio workouts. This is especially useful if you're planning on doing any high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.
Doing Pilates first will help reduce the chances of injury during HIIT sessions.
Another option would be to do Pilates after cardio exercises. This is particularly useful if you've been lifting weights. If you lift weights after cardio, you may find that you become sore from the weights.
By performing Pilates after lifting weights, you can prevent this from happening.
Another thing you can do is to combine Pilates with other forms of exercise. For example, you could do Pilates before running, then run afterwards. Or you could do Pilates after cycling, then cycle afterwards.
To conclude, Pilates is equivalent to strength training in the sense that they both focus on increasing your muscular strength.
However, the main difference between them is that strength training focuses on developing muscle mass whereas Pilates focuses on building flexibility. So, if you want to lose weight, you should choose strength training over Pilates.