I am often asked whether Pilates is a form of strength training. The answer is a big YES! Pilates involves a lot of movements, big and small, utilising springs from the equipment, hand weights and body weight.
Pilates is an incredible exercise method for building strength throughout your entire body. In your Pilates class you will work with your own body weight and also add additional resistance via springs on the equipment and hand weights to increase lean muscle and create more strength in your body. Pilates focuses on functional strength training instead of traditional strength training. Pilates is more three dimensional (working through all planes of motion and sometimes all at the same time) rather than linear (up/down, forward back). This, of course, is always dependent on the body and what is going on with each body. Some people are not able to move in certain ways and we, of course, work with that ensuring every body is moving the best that they can to achieve the best results for them.
Whilst traditional strength training in the gym certainly has it’s place, it is not necessarily making you stronger in your day-to-day life activities, which is what functional training does. We have all seen the person who has big muscles but cannot extend their arms or legs all of the way or has multiple injuries from imbalances which have been exacerbated by their current strength training routine due to a lack of balance in their training. Pilates focuses on whole-body exercises. When you build strength in some muscles but not others, or some more than others, like your quadriceps (front of thighs) may be much stronger than your hamstrings (back of thighs) and gluteus, for instance. Instead of building balance, you perpetuate imbalances and this opens you up to more injury and imbalances elsewhere in the body.
Art Of Pilates focuses on building strength in a way which balances the body using Pilates and functional movements. Movements in functional training require you to coordinate balance and control in addition to strength similar to how you might use them in your day to day living. This includes balancing the strength between your right side and your left side of your body and strengthening your back body and the front of your front body. The latter which tends to be much stronger in most people.
When you strengthen and balance the muscles throughout your body in functional ways it makes you less prone to injury in everything else that you do in life such as sport, running, chasing after the kids, moving heavy objects and other activities.
A balanced and conditioned body is a strong body which is fit for life purposes.