Can Pilates be the answer to my cross training needs?

If you have a passion sport and add Pilates to your weekly routine, you are cross training. There are so many good reasons to do this. Here are a few:
  • Pilates exercises are oriented toward functional fitness, meaning that Pilates teaches you to move better, in general, thereby enhancing performance and reducing the risk of injury in other activities.
  • Pilates helps with flexibility
  • The benefits of Pilates always includes balance
  • Cross training adds sustaining variety to a workout routine.

Strength and Flexibility in Cross Training

Pilates is the moderate strength training aspect of a cross-training program. Thinking about Pilates as strength training and increasing flexibility. Strength and flexibility are often the goals of people looking to cross train.
The Pilates Method works on the foundation of core strength. Pilates exercises strengthen not just the outer muscles of the center of the body but also the deep inner stabilizing muscles of the pelvis, abdomen, and back—the core muscles. Core strength supports the back and neck, giving us healthy posture and freeing the joints to allow a natural flexibility of the limbs. This kind of strength and flexibility training translate well into all kinds of activities.
Pilates resistance training is enough to give you functional power, help build bone, and burn more calories because muscle is a calorie burner. Pilates will help you do weight training with better alignment, a greater range of motion, and integrative focus.

How to Schedule Cross Training

Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services suggest that adults do moderate (Pilates) or high-intensity muscle strengthening at least two days a week. The guidelines also suggest a minimum of 2 hrs and 30 minutes a week of aerobic activity (cardio) in episodes of at least 10 minutes each, spread throughout the week. These are the minimums. You can work up to more. To get the full benefits of Pilates, you should probably do it at least 3 times a week.
Cross training is really just combining exercise types.  Cardio and strength training are best done on different days. That way you won’t be too tired to do one or the other, and your muscles get a chance to rest and repair—which is how you actually build strength and endurance. It is also a good idea to alternate the exercise intensity levels in your weekly routine. An every-other-day cardio then strength program with alternating heavy and light workouts is a good choice.
People often underestimate the exertion level of Pilates. I have had numerous emails confirming that people find it too much to do a full Pilates class and cardio on the same day. So as you begin cross-training, stick with alternate days or do a very light Pilates workout on a cardio day.
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“I enjoy my Pilates Reformer weekly session.  It is a break from my regular weight training workouts and yet I know I’m not slacking!  The Pilates moves seem to work muscles in a different way and I know Pilates has helped strengthen my core.  I highly recommend it.” – JoAnn A.