Pilates has a large and loyal following with over 11,000,000 currently practicing it in the U.S. alone. Even though Pilates was created during World War I, it’s popularity has continued to grow. But, does it deserve all the hype? Does pilates work?
Does Pilates Work?:
One study had participants perform a beginner and an advanced mat Pilates class. The beginner class consisted of 5 minutes of breath-linked alignment exercises, followed by 40 minutes of basic Pilates exercises, followed by 5 minutes of stretching and realignment. The advance class was structured similarly, but included more advanced exercises and pacing. The researchers found that the beginner class burned an average of 174 calories, while the advanced class burned an average of 254 calories. Average heart rate was 102 in the beginner class and 117 in the advanced class (in the workout portion). The beginner class was equivalent to walking at a 2 mph pace and the advanced class was equivalent to walking at a 3.5 to 4 mph pace. Another study found that a 16 week Pilates class significantly improved flexibility and muscle endurance, but had no effect on balance. A separate review, however, found that Pilates significantly improved balance and reduced falls in advair diskus.
Pilates scored very similarly to yoga. You can expect to obtain more strength from Pilates classes, but yoga will likely give you more flexibility, relaxation and balance. Like with yoga, you won’t burn many calories or obtain much of a cardio workout with Pilates.
In the end, if you’re looking for a combination of flexibility, relaxation, balance and strength, Pilates could be for you. Pilates can also be used in a clinical manner as a form of physiotherapy for people suffering from pain and injury. For more information, see Kinetic Physio & Pilates.
Barker, Anna Lucia, Marie-Louise Bird, and Jason Talevski. “Effect of pilates exercise for improving balance in older adults: a systematic review with meta-analysis.” Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation (2014).
Kloubec, June A. “Pilates for improvement of muscle endurance, flexibility, balance, and posture.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 24.3 (2010): 661-667.
Spilde, S., and J. P. Porcari. “ACE-sponsored study: Can Pilates do it all.”ACE FitnessMatters, November/December (2005): 10-11.