Using Pilates for Better Workouts

Using Pilates For Better Workouts

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

It is a big trend that will happen in 2013 which 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 you can, lifting weight and sweating through the cardio.

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

The term functional training has been widely used as the means of training the body with exercises benefiting daily activities.

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 with a hard-core workout to increase muscle mass and look cut and ripped. Sure it looks great and you will get the flattering looks whenever you are out and about.

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

By no means is showing muscle not attractive, it is appealing and the goal for some people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, when working with one of my favorite clients he was shocked when I asked him to perform simple moves — for example, bend elbows in front of you and touch them together — and he struggled with this.

Functional Muscles & Pilates

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

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

How we stand, sleep, and train directly affect the body and the alignment. When using bodyweight Pilates the core is addressed first and foremost. The foundation or the Root of the body, plus the development of balanced muscle equals a better performing body in any activity, whether it is 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 at you with discomfort, such as when you are picking 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 suffered from 14 broken bones over the years. One of his favorite activities is dirt bike riding.

He goes to the gym every week to do his regular workout by lifting heavy weights and cardio intervals. 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 was going to 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 really 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 huge difference in dirt bike riding and midsection.

With a surprised look on his face and with 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 was able to 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, in turn helping him to get better riding on his bike and in the gym.

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

Sure body weight 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.

Here is a quick clip of a Body Weight Pilates workout I had one of my Pilates guy do. Justin is an L1 certified Crossfit coach and a former Pro Baseball player, basically, 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, 3 sets, 15-second rest between each set
  • Ab Lift – Rotation – 10 reps, 3 sets, 15 seconds rest between each set
  • Mini Roll-Up – 10 reps, 3 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 over to Body Weight Pilates for more bodyweight works.

Have fun and enjoy the benefits of Pilates! 

Sylvia Favela, aka “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 can check out other articles from Sylvia:

Bodyweight Workouts 101