While weight training and Pilates may seem to be opposites they can both complement each other when used correctly. I recently started doing weight training and found that the strength increase helped me during Pilates. Whether you’re looking to tone-up, lose weight or gain as much muscle strength as possible you can benefit a lot from incorporating both together into your exercise routine.
It’s important to note though that there is a risk of over-exercising with this. You should allow sufficient recovery time for your muscles between each workout session Before mentioning how they work together let’s look a bit closer at each one to see the differences. If you wish to be serious about your fitness you should also consider hiring a personal trainer.
With traditional weight lifting, you tend to isolate each muscle group and work on them in turn. The problem with this is that most people don’t brace other areas for the lifting. The neck, shoulder joint, hip joint, ankle joint and lower back aren’t isolated enough because they aren’t used to lifting weights. Usually, weightlifters recruit these parts to help lift the weight which can risk damaging them when done improperly. Pilates can help with this by teaching you to stabilize your core against the destabilizing effects of the weight. This kind of training is described as ‘the body working against itself.’ Pilates helps you to adjust to using your stabilizer muscles when stretching so that it becomes second nature. This means you’ll avoid overextending yourself when lifting weights.
How Pilates works
You can perform Pilates either on a mat or with a machine known as a reformer. Using a machine is a much more intense workout while the same movements on a mat will be less intensive. If you’re just starting out it’s best to take things slow at first. Doing too much can lead to burnout and possible injuries. When doing exercises on a floor or mat you should focus on movements that will work on endurance, flexibility and stretching. It’s very important that you don’t overdo things. Intensive Pilates the day after heavy exercise can end up being detrimental to your fitness. A personal trainer can advise on this and help you to find the routine that suits your body best.
Combining Pilates and weight lifting
You can do mild to moderate Pilates training on your recovery days. This will work on your flexibility and help to release any tension in your muscles. Some light stretching will also aid your muscle recovery by increasing the flow of blood and nutrients through your body. Pilates can also serve as a great warm-up or warm-down during gym sessions. When using a Pilates machine like the reformer it is vital that you don’t exercise the same muscle groups day after day. These machines can be very demanding on your muscles so it’s important that you give them adequate rest between each workout.
So whether you’re more into weight lifting or Pilates you can definitely benefit from using both as part of your workout routine. Just be careful not to overdo it and cause any injury. If you’re unsure of where to start, ask a personal trainer for advice.