The first time I did Pilates I was feeling the “burn” in places I had never felt before! Every single exercise was waking up muscles and challenging my stamina and strength. I thought, no way am I going to be able to move tomorrow! I knew sore muscles were headed my way.
But, then the next day I got up and felt pretty awesome. A few spots of soreness but nothing like I thought. I would turn or twist I could feel something new. And, it felt good to move through the soreness. Nothing like after a challenging run or too many lunges and squats at the gym.
I continued to do Pilates four to five days a week and in the last ten plus years while I still experience muscle soreness it’s never a debilitating experience and unlike my HIIT or Cross Fit counterparts, soreness after Pilates is not a badge of workout honor.
There are a lot of myths about muscle soreness. People believe that without muscle soreness they are not working hard enough. And, while you want to be challenging your muscles and soreness is a sign that the muscles are challenged you also should be able to live your life and move!
Joseph Pilates wanted us to leave feeling better than when we walked into the studio. That we should leave feeling invigorated!
In Pilates, I find that in the beginning there may be muscle soreness because it’s a new movement challenge. But, often, my clients feel soreness the more advanced they become in their practice. And, not because the exercises get harder or bigger but because they start to understand that there is a lot of control in the return. For example, when you first start out Footwork on the reformer feels like so much of a leg, quad-based exercise. But, over time, your seat, inner thighs, and abs start to join the party.
Another reason I feel Pilates doesn’t leave you so sore you cannot lower yourself into a chair is because we only do a few reps and then we move on. When I work with my trainer we do three sets of the same exercise, we add more weight as we go along. We stress the muscle’s ability. But, in Pilates, we do 3-5 and sometimes 10 reps of an exercise and we move on. It’s also more body weight resistance training. Pilates will make you as strong as any other workout! You’ll do more exercises in an hour working the whole body instead of parts of the body.
So, if you’re not feeling the soreness after a Pilates exercise it’s not because Pilates isn’t working. The measure of Pilates to me is if it feels easy then you are probably not connecting to your muscles.
At the time of writing this, I am one day post filming a couple of my online mat classes. And, my mat class about exploring the shoulder definitely woke up some of my upper back muscles. I’m enjoying the kind of soreness that shows I challenged my body in a new way. I found a new level of muscular connection.
If you’ve been wondering if Pilates is enough, it is! Are you challenging yourself to approach your practice in a new way? To think about each exercise a little differently? It’s why I love my weekly mat classes online. Each week we practice with a new theme. We come at the exercises with a new approach.
Soreness or no soreness challenging yourself and being consistent is more important signs of good workouts for your body!
Are you ready to be more consistent? To workout and think about it in a new way each time?
Add some Pilates to your life, to your routine and see what happens!