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Should you do Pilates or Strength Training, according to a personal trainer

We obviously have a tiny bias towards Pilates here at Go Chlo, but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy other forms of exercise too! That’s why we asked our resident personal trainer, Jordi, on her thoughts of Pilates vs strength training.

What is strength training?

Strength training follows a similar concept to Pilates; slow, steady and controlled movements, specific muscle engagement, mind body connection. However, strength training involves the use of heavier weights and slowly increasing load over time to build muscle. There have been many adaptations to strength training over the years to include olympic lifts and more functional strength training that is seen quite commonly today in group training classes. Strength training uses two basic movements - compound and isometric, both of which you will probably already be familiar with.

Compound exercises target more than one muscle group at a time, such as a squat that targets your quads, glutes and calves all in one go. Isometric exercises target one specific muscle group such as a bicep curl. Pilates uses many of these exercises in its programming too, but the cues, time under tension and load type are what differentiates Pilates from strength training.

As a personal trainer, I encounter many females who are nervous to start lifting weights. Gals here me out - you should not be scared of strength training! Just like Pilates, strength training has wonderful benefits for females including;

  • Increases muscle mass

  • Improves joint stability and strength

  • Improves cardiovascular health

  • Improves bone density and lowers risk of osteoporosis

  • Improves mood and mental health

Is pilates considered as strength training?

Yes absolutely, that Pilates burn says it all! Pilates incorporates body weight and light resistance with small weights, bands and Pilates rings to build muscle. You don't always need to lift heavy weights to do strength training, in fact, some body weight exercises are hard enough without weights, I'm looking at you push ups!

How do Pilates and strength training complement each other?

Strength training involves compound movements that are generally linear, meaning they work in one direction of movement (e.g. squats, deadlifts), building strength and power within this movement pattern only. Pilates on the other hand, focuses on core activation as the initial move, and incorporates mobility and flexibility into the joints and muscles as you perform each movement. Having improved flexibility, mobility and core strength when strength training is imperative to be able to perform each repetition in its full range of motion.

You can think of Pilates as the building blocks to so many different types of other exercise out there. That's why you’ll find everyone from swimmers to football players incorporating Pilates into their fitness routine to help strengthen and improve their performance.

As a personal trainer, I can always point out who has experience with Pilates. You can tell by their familiarity with their body and coordination, ability to activate the correct muscles, their flexibility and core strength. Their Pilates practice allows them to move fluidly through strength exercises.

So, should I do Pilates or strength training?

I am not really someone to compare different ways of moving as I like to encourage listening to your body and moving in a way that makes you feel good as does Chloe.

I think, ideally, you should incorporate a mixture of both into your weekly movements but that doesn't mean you need to go out and buy a gym membership. If you have been hesitant to try a Pilates with weights class, never got around to trying a Pilates ring or skip the push ups - here is your sign to give it a go! The benefits of building strength are amazing, and you have access to an unbelievable platform that already has a multitude of strength classes incorporated into it!

Here are a few of my favourites:

If you are not yet a Go Chlo Pilates member get your free 14 day trial here!

Written by Jordi Zeevi (Cert III/IV Fitness/Personal Trainer)


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