If there’s one question instructors get more than any other question, it’s this: Do I need to supplement my classes with cardio?
Q: Let’s answer the question once and for all: Is barre cardio? Is Pilates cardio?
A: YES. Pilates and Barre gets your heart pumping and promotes cardiovascular health.
Q: OK, but do I need to supplement my pilates barre practice with extra cardio?
A: No but of course, if there are other heart-healthy activities you enjoy, absolutely feel free to add them to your routine—in fact, you may find that your practice helps you love them even more. By boosting your energy and by teaching you to be balanced in your body, barre helps support traditional cardio-focused activities, like running and biking. Check out all our posts on cross training.
Q: I feel my heart pumping during barre and floor work but I wonder, am I still getting a cardio workout when I’m doing the holds and stretching portions of class?
A: Your heart is working hard for you far beyond the standing portion of the class. Powerful holds can get the heart rate up because you are asking your muscles to stabilize, which requires the heart to work hard. Think about plank. Even though there is little to no movement, the muscles are firing like crazy to hold your body in that posture. Next time you come out of it, notice your heart rate. I’d bet it will be elevated.
At the end of class, when we stretch and allow our breath to deepen, it’s normal for your heart rate to return to normal. This portion isn’t necessarily cardio, but it is equally important and has so many benefits, such as increased range of motion, focusing your mind, and re-energizing you for the rest of your day.
Q: Will doing Absolute Pilates and Barre help me meet the standard recommendations for cardio exercise?
A: Yes! The American Heart Association recommends either 150 minutes of moderate activities a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activities a week. If you do two to three studio workouts a week, you are doing amazing things for your heart.
Q: If I already do a lot of cardio (like running or HIIT workouts), how can I work barre and Pilates into my routine in a healthy way?
A: This is where I would really suggest to try a schedule that works for you and then focus inward and see how it feels. If you run three to four times a week or take a HITT class two to three times a week, try to add two to three studio workouts into your weekly schedule. If that feels like too much, then try for two a week. Let that be a starting point, listen to what your body is telling you, and then adjust your schedule as you need to.