Using Pilates for Better Workouts

Using Pilates For Better Workouts

Bodyweight Pilates

Bodyweight Pilates is a functional workout that not only women do; it is not designed to increase muscle mass. Guys secretly add Pilates moves, and many athletes add it to their weekly training routine for agility, endurance, and strength to reduce the risk of injuries.

Sure, bodyweight Pilates will force you to push through stiffness in the body, but after continued practice and adopting it as part of a regular fitness regimen, you will surprise yourself with the improvements and wish you would have done it sooner.

Sylvia’s response to last week’s post was great, so I got her to write another for you.

A big trend in 2013 is the focus on bodyweight exercise.

Sylvia shows you how to improve your workout and functional movement with Pilates.


~ Rick

What To Do on Your Days Off?

You head to the gym and do your regular fitness routine. You go as hard as possible, lifting weight and sweating through the cardio.

Adding functional training between workouts improves endurance, physical performance, and stamina.

Functional training has been widely used to train the body to improve daily performance.

Using the Pilates system on the days, you are not training hard can significantly help to develop functional muscle rather than show muscle.

What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

You can walk into the gym; begin a hard-core workout to increase muscle mass and look cut and ripped. Sure it looks great, and you will get flattering looks whenever you are out and about.

The most natural daily moves are challenges. The unfortunate downside to showing muscle is no positive functional movement beyond when you struggle to put a shirt on because your shoulders are too tight. You feel a bit clumsy when pulling a sweater over your head.

By no means is showing muscle not attractive. It is appealing and the goal for some people. My favorite client was shocked when I requested that he perform simple movements—for example, touching his elbows together in front of him—and he had difficulty with this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Functional Muscles & Pilates

Functional muscle allows the body to move in a natural range of motion without restrictions from tightness or strength over development. Pilates targets the deep core muscle, which people also refer to as the body’s powerhouse.

The trunk or foundation of strength in the body is the core; if this is inadequate, the body’s compensation and muscle take over. I have seen this in so many people. One thigh is bigger than the other. The left shoulder is higher than the other, etc.

When using bodyweight Pilates, you should address the core first and foremost. How we stand, sleep, and train affects the body and the alignment. The foundation or the Root of the body, plus the development of balanced muscle, equals a better performing body in any activity, whether in the gym or daily activities such as playing catch with the kids.

Nothing is more frustrating or disheartening when you can’t bend over without feeling your back and hamstrings tugging you with discomfort, such as when you pick something up off the floor or tying your shoes.

There is nothing wrong with training hard and putting on muscle mass if that’s what you’re looking to do. I know dozens of people who want increased muscle mass but have found how Pilates is helping them in the gym. When you incorporate Pilates as a functional system on your days off, the results speak for themselves.

The Pilates Challenge

Take Tim, for example. He is a 47-year-old  active guy. He has been for years, and he has suffered from 14 broken bones over the years. One of his favorite activities is dirt bike riding.

He goes to the gym weekly to do his regular workout by lifting heavy weights and cardio. Having tight hamstrings and upper back is something Tim was familiar with and lived with.

His wife challenged him to do Pilates; he didn’t think it would be a tough enough workout, so he took her up on the challenge.

He quickly changed his outlook and perception of Pilates and how challenging it is.

Within two weeks of adding bodyweight Pilates to his weekly fitness routine, he not only improved his performance in the gym but also noticed a massive difference in dirt bike riding and midsection.

With a surprised look on his face and the desire of wanting to get better, he started to add more of the bodyweight Pilates to his weekly routine.

He continued to share a story with me about how all of his buddies commented on how he could hold himself above his seat the entire time while dirt bike riding. Because he has been diligent with his Pilates system, his core strength has increased immensely, helping him get better riding on his bike and in the gym.

Here is a quick clip of a Body Weight Pilates workout I had one of my Pilates guys do. Justin is an L1 certified Crossfit coach and a former Pro Baseball player. He is in great shape and has added Pilates to help his physical performance.

Here is the Pilates workout that was demonstrated

  • Ab Lift – 10 Reps, three sets, 15-second rest between each set
  • Ab Lift – Rotation – 10 reps, three sets, 15 seconds rest between each set
  • Mini Roll-Up – 10 reps, three sets, 15 seconds rest between each set

To get that extra edge out of your workout and challenge yourself to increase your performance in and out of the gym or on your days off, head to Body Weight Pilates for more bodyweight work.

Have fun and enjoy the benefits of Pilates! 

Sylvia Favela, “Queen of Pilates,” author of “Body Weight Pilates.”

If you are interested in Sylvia’s Body Weight Pilates, you can check it out here:

If you liked the article above, you could check out other articles from Sylvia:

Bodyweight Workouts 101