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 help. When 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 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.