Can I Do Pilates and Weight Train?

If you are doing any weight lifting, Pilates is essential for you. Think of it like a secret weapon! Let’s dive into how, why, and what exercises you can do to improve your weight training and more.

  • Author: Lesley Logan
  • July 15, 2021
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Can I do Pilates and Weight train - Online Pilates Classes
Can I do Pilates and Weight train - Online Pilates Classes

You know you need to get stronger, you know working out has many benefits not just how we look and feel in our jeans. But, it can be difficult to choose what workout regimens we should do. And, also, which ones will support each other. If you are doing any weight lifting Pilates is essential for you. Think of it like a secret weapon! I used to team up with Personal Trainers and create Pilates workouts that help support what they were doing on the weight floor. And, below is the how, why and what exercises you can do to improve your weight training and more.

How and Why Pilates helpS your weight training

Pilates is a full-body strength-based workout. Every time you do Pilates you are training your body to move from your core (center) first. If you need tips to improve your core strength check out how Pilates can helpWhen you lift weights you are essentially targeting a set of muscles specifically in each exercise. During Pilates, you work the whole body in each exercise. Plus, unlike lifting weights while doing exercises that appear to just be working the front body the opposite side of the body is still working, however, it is doing an “active-static stretch.” Essentially a lot of eccentric contractions and the type of “stretching” that actually improves flexibility. The more you balance your strength and flexibility the more you prevent injury.

Many of the people I worked with initially was on their form. By improving their core strength (all the muscles on the front, back, and sides of the trunk) automatically their form improved. Pilates also helps with body awareness. It’s easy when lifting weights to lift and lower without really focusing on what is moving where. When you add a Pilates practice in to your fitness routine you will see that your knees start to track over your toes, tightness or weakness that affects your knees going forward instead of inward or out will be improved.

Injury prevention is why a lot of people continue to do Pilates. It’s widely known that professional athletes are doing Pilates almost daily as part of their conditioning because of the strength and mobility they get from it. Imagine loading your arms while circling them? This is something that Pilates does in the Rowing series. Key for helping people who are working their arm, shoulder, and upper back muscles. If you only lift weights and you don’t do Pilates in combo, you will end up with tight shoulders which will be susceptible to injury.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, the more we train our bodies to work from our center out the more we can do when we lift weights. Imagine doing a front squat with 15-30lbs more? Could you get there without Pilates? Yes, can you get there sooner and without compromising your back with Pilates? Yes!

The good news is you don’t need to do hours of Pilates to go with your time in the gym. In fact, there are a lot of benefits in just doing 15-30 min of Pilates 3-4x a week. You can use it to warm up before you hit the weights. You can do them as a cool down. Below are some exercises you should add into any weight training practice. They will take you 10-15 min. You can also add in our intro series to Pilates if you like a video to follow along.

Before or after you hit your weights try these:

  • Roll Up: opens the back and strengthens the front and your glutes
  • Single-Leg Circle: warms up the hips, opens the back of the legs, chest and challenges your core.
  • Rolling like a ball: challenges your entire core and deepens your hip and knee flexion.
  • Double Leg Stretch: warms up your shoulders, strengthens your center, deepens your hip and knee flexion
  • Double Straight Leg Stretch: Warms up your upper back, challenges your front, engages your inner thighs and glutes
  • Swan: engages your entire back body, hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and abs
  • Thigh Stretch: Open the front of the hips and thigh, strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, connects arms to the upper back
  • Shoulder Bridge: glutes, hamstrings, and spine mobility. Plus inner thigh connections and hip opening
  • Side Kicks: obliques, abdominals, glutes
  • Spine Twist: inner thighs, outer hips, obliques, latissmus dorsi. Great twisting warm exercise that will help with mobility and strength

These 10 exercises should take 10-12 minutes or even less!

You can watch our free tutorials or get our flashcards! They fit in your gym back. Pull these out. And when you’ve gotten these down start adding more!

You can absolutely do Pilates and Weight train. And I truly hope you do! Get ready to see your results happen faster and feel stronger and flexible while doing it.

xx~LL

By Lesley Logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.


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SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

STRONGER THAN YESTERDAY

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

It's tempting to focus so much on what we weren't able to do in our workout that day. But, how often are we considering what new connections we had compared to yesterday or the last time we moved? In this week's workout, we are vibing with Britany and focusing on the strength we have today compared to yesterday. And not letting things get in our way!

This week, remember, if you can't do something yet let's replace it with something that you can do!

Props: No specific props. But, please bring anything that you usually use to find your connections!

See ya in class,
xx~LL 💋

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

FROGS & CIRCLES & LONG SPINE, OH MY!

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

What do these three things have in common?

They are great examples of how we can change leg position or the action of our legs to either connect us more to our center or challenge our connection!

In this week’s class, we’ll focus on what happens when our legs are in frog position vs long legs vs making circles with our legs. If something isn’t feeling quite right, we can explore how might we change it slightly to be more connected to our bodies.

Props:
Mat - small ball
Reformer - small ball, wedge, pole

See you in class,
Rachel

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, small ball and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, small ball, wedge, pole and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    ANCHORS AWEIGH!

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Anchors Aweigh is often misspelled as Anchors Away! Did you know this? And did you know this - The expression anchors aweigh means all the anchors are clear of the sea bottom, and the ship begins its voyage. So, I actually thought I was being clever when I changed it to Anchors Aweigh because I want to use the 1 lb weights as a prop. Also, I want to use this theme to bring focus and clarity during each exercise about what's not moving vs. what is moving. And really keeping what’s not supposed to move as still and stable as can be. May be harder than you think to do, so let’s have fun with it! Think of it as a game.

    Mat prop: 1 lb weights (water bottles or soup cans as substitutions ) + pole (dowel/broomstick/swiffer as substitutions)
    Reformer prop: 1 lb weights (water bottles or soup cans as substitutions ) + pole (dowel/broomstick/swiffer as substitutions)

    See you in class,

    Christine

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 lb weights, pole and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 lb weights, pole and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    LOOK MA, NO HANDS!

    Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

    We’re going to focus on the muscles that help us get up/down to a chair, toilet, in/out of a car, and to the ground without the use of our hands to help.

    As we age, we can lose strength, flexibility, mobility in these leg and core muscles which results in us using our arms and hands to get up and down.

    Let’s keep these bodies as young as we can by practicing getting up and down with only our legs, our center, and our strong back.

    Reformer: No props needed
    Cadillac/Tower: Reformer box
    Mat: Theraband
    Chair: No props needed

    See ya in class,

    xx-LL 💋

    HANG 10

    ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

    Grip strength as well as upper body strength plays an important role in so many different exercises throughout the mat and all apparatus. Our grip can influence the connection from our wrists - to our arms - to our back. And building strength in our chest and upper back can help us connect more to our center in every exercise.

    All month long we’ll explore the feeling, the strength, and the position of our hands and upper body to see how our exercises change with a little extra focus. We’ll also play with ways to gain more strength and awareness in our chest and upper back to create even more connections to the exercises.

    Props:
    Chair - short pole* and a foam roller for balance
    *A thicker pole or roll down bar size might feel nice, but no worries you’ll find your connections no matter what you have on hand!
    Mat: a pole
    Reformer: No props needed
    Cadillac: No props needed

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

    I LOVE ROCK & ROLL UP

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Finding some love for Roll Up and Open Leg Rocker isn't easy! But, these two exercises unlock the potential for so many other exercises. And what we don't like we often need. So, let's dive into what we need to rock our Roll Ups and Open leg Rockers and see how that changes the rest of our practice in the meantime.

    Mat: Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband
    Reformer: have your shortbox pole near by

    xx~LL

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Magic Circle, Pole or Theraband and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, short box and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.