Pilates vs Weight Training: Which Is Better For You?

Lesley Logan, co-founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com™, emphasizes the compatibility of Pilates with weightlifting. She highlights how Pilates can enhance core strength, prevent injuries, and improve the mind-body connection, making it an ideal addition to any weightlifting routine.

  • Author: lesley.logan
  • April 3, 2024
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pilates vs weightlifting online pilates classes

Pilates for Weightlifting: Maximizing Your Results

Pilates vs weight training. Pilates should be paired with your weightlifting. True or false? Or, will Pilates destroy those gains?

Hi, I’m Lesley Logan, co-founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com™. And I’ve been doing Pilates since 2005. And I’ve been weight training along that journey. So I’m here to talk to you about how to pair Pilates with your weight training so you can get the best results possible.

Welcome to OnlinePilatesClasses.com™. The most supportive Pilates loving community across the globe. Enjoy new weekly classes from our amazing teachers. Download the OnlinePilatesClasses.com™ app today.

Understanding the Impact of Weightlifting and Pilates on Your Body

Alright, so let’s talk about pilates vs weight training and how weightlifting actually affects your body. Does Pilates build muscle? So here’s the deal, I am a big fan of weightlifting because the reality is we actually do need to build our muscles and weight training can actually pull stress on the muscles, which puts stress on the bones, which is really great for building your bones. And the thing is, is that the younger you are with your weight training, the better it is to build the muscle mass that you need as we get older because it gets harder to build muscles when we get older. Now, if you are a male, you can actually do weightlifting through most days of every month. You do need days off, it’s really important that you have rest days because weight training is a high-impact exercise modality and so you do need days off where you actually take breaks so those muscles can repair.

Pilates is a low-impact workout which means you can do it on every single day. Because it’s mostly using your body weight even when you use springs. The thing is that if you’re a female weight training, you really want to make sure that you are working through your own cycle if you actually still have a cycle, because there’s only certain days of your month, of your cycle, where doing high impact exercise activity is not going to be amazing for getting the best results for your body. And so it’s really, really important that you actually are working with your cycle and using weight training to get the most benefits, but then also using low-impact activities on those days where it might not be the best to do high-impact.

The Impact of Pilates on Your Body

So let’s talk about how Pilates affects the body. First of all, I do want to shout out to a lot of different athletes who are already incorporating Pilates into their trainings. So Cristiano Ronaldo, also we have Sylvester Stallone. And if you were at all paying attention to the Super Bowl, every football player is using Pilates in their training. Why? Because Pilates really does benefit the entire body in every workout. So as opposed to doing an arm day or a leg day, and then there’s back day and then there’s I don’t know-day, the thing about Pilates is it’s actually full body all the time. And it starts from your center outward first, right? So what it does is instead of working all those big major muscle groups, it’s actually going to incorporate the little muscle groups along the way, which means you’re going to balance your imbalances, which is really, really amazing because what you don’t want to do is only be building, building, building on those bigger groups and leaving those little ones for nothing, we’re not getting that workout. So when you actually work those little muscle groups that actually supports the weight training you’re going to be doing, preventing injuries, and also allowing for some flexibility stretching along the way.

If you want to dive in deeper into why athletes are doing Pilates, you should check out the video that we have on why athletes do pilates. It’s really amazing and will tell you a lot more about how Pilates can affect the body. So as I mentioned Pilates is a low-impact exercise, what that means for you is that it actually allows you to incorporate into any kind of workout that you’re already doing, especially on those days off, it’s really important that we move our body intentionally every single day, because it’s low impact, it’s really not going to add stress to the body in a way that weight training would or HIIT workout would, so you can really do it on your days off or you can do it to warm up for your next workout.

the secret to effective weight training online pilates classes

Pilates Benefits for Weightlifters

Pilates for strength training. Alright, so some of the amazing benefits for weightlifters who add Pilates in are these: you’re going to have an incredible core strength which is going to support you and lifting heavier weights without filling in your back. You will have injury prevention because Pilates is a strength-based workout but is designed to stretch what is tight, which means you will not have that tightness on your shoulder when you reach back. That’s when injuries happen. So it’s really really cool because you will actually balance your imbalances, balance that strength with equal flexibility. It’s also really amazing for your form.

So here’s the deal. When I was first teaching Pilates, I actually worked at a high-end fitness gym, and trainers were constantly sending me their clients because of their form. Their knees would go out when they were doing their squats, or their shoulders would round forward when they’re lifting a weight. And so I would actually work with them to better their posture, increase their flexibility, coordination and improve their form, which means again, less injuries while they were actually doing their weight training. And super, super cool what they were able to add in the exercises. They could add it with weight training. They weren’t limited into what exercise they were doing on that weight training floor. It was really awesome to see them improve their balance, their strength, their coordination.

The Importance of Posture and Stability for Weightlifters

So posture is really really key, as we mentioned with the improvement in their form. When your shoulders run forward or your head comes forward it really is decreasing your posture. It’s actually making you shorter which means if you lift weights against that form, against a rounded back, it’s actually going to cause more back pain. And you’re not going to be actually working the muscles you’re intending to, you’ll be working different muscles. And so because of the work that we do, on the core strength that improves your posture, again, it’s going to pull your shoulders and head back into alignment and allow you to get the amazing results from the weight training you want to do.

Stability is also super key. Here’s the deal, there are some amazing exercises you can do on a weight training floor but if you don’t have stability, you don’t have that balance, you’re going to have injuries, or you’re just not going to be able to do the exercise. And so because we have asymmetrical exercises, as well as symmetrical exercises, ones that really do challenge your balance, but make you move from your core outward first, you’re going to be able to incorporate even more weight training exercises to your practice.

Enhance Your Weight Training with a Mind-Body Pilates Connection

And lastly, and most importantly, the mind-body connection. Here’s the deal. It’s so easy to just kind of like let your mind drift when you’re lifting weights. And again, that’s where injuries of core occur, or worse, you’re just not able to do the exercise properly. Because Pilates focuses on that mind connecting to the body when you are out weight training, when you’re doing your lifting, you are going to actually be able to experience that mind-body connection and increasing your results while you’re weight training. So really, I mean, why wouldn’t you add Pilates to your weight training practice so you can have all of these things?

If you are interested in trying out a Pilates workout with your weight training practice, I highly encourage you to check out my 30-minute Mat workout that does incorporate weights. Now, really important that you know this, you’re not going to be grabbing on your 15s or your 20s. Hold on: you’re gonna grab one to two-pound weights. I promise you, you will be surprised at how challenging those weights can be. But because they’re gonna be us so distally from your body, we want you to keep lightweights because it’s going to help you connect to your core first.

why every weightlifter should consider pilates online pilates classes

Enhancing Gym Gains: Pilates as a Complementary Workout

Pilates vs weight lifting. So, is Pilates going to affect your gym gains? Is Pilates more effective than weight lifting? Is Pilates good for weight loss? Should you stop weight training to incorporate Pilates? No. Please don’t. Please keep doing what you’re doing. Here’s the deal. I firmly believe that Pilates helps you do everything you already love, better. And I know that you’re really busy and it can be really difficult to add in something new. And so maybe there is a chance if you’re going to the gym weightlifting four days a week, that you do three days a week and you add Pilates, and here’s what would be even cooler. It’d be even cooler, if you took me with you and you did a Mat class as your warm up or as your cool down. So you’re already at the gym, you can do it on the Mat, there’s a stretch Mat, and you’re probably not using it anyways, let’s be real. So if you do this, you can do a 15 minute Mat Workout, a 20 minute Mat Workout, a 30 minute Mat Workout, it’s really really amazing how it will actually affect your weight training in a better way. So please do not stop what you’re already doing to incorporate this, add it to what you’re doing. It’s always Pilates and, never Pilates versus.

For me, I actually do weight training four days a week. So I have a few days of HIIT training classes that are about 20 to 30 minutes long. And then I have heavy weight training days, the other two days a week. I incorporate my Pilates with it in different ways for me because I have access to equipment in my house, I usually do my Pilates practice in the morning after I do my morning walk. But there are two days a week that I do in the afternoon. So if we take a seven day, I actually do my Pilates four days of the week, and I weight train four days a week. So there are a couple days of overlap and a day where I do nothing. And the reason I do that is because it’s kind of nice just to like not have a schedule on one day and really enjoy my family and my dogs and the outside. And the other two days, I can put them back to back or I can separate them. It depends on the schedule for the week if I’m filming or I’m not filming. But again, it’s not about taking one away from the other. As you can see, I really try to make sure that I can fit in what I’m doing. And I also use my cycle because I am a female, where I actually on the days I can do more weight training, more high intensity work, I will put them back to back and have a longer workout on the weeks where I actually need to have a lower intensity work, I separate them so that I have time for recovery.

Enhancing Strength and Mobility with Pilates

Alright, so if your goal is to build strength and mobility which it should by the way, longevity is key and the tighter you are the actual harder it is for you to grow old in a way that makes you feel super super good. So if you are wanting to have strength and mobility, check out the workouts we have on our YouTube channel, there are several you can do on the Mat and take wherever you go. Alright, so I’ve got two more things for you. I have a whole video on the secret to staying motivated, which is really really key. And then I also have one on how to workout when you don’t feel motivated at all, because let’s be real motivation can be really fickle. So these are great videos for you when you’re wanting to have a workout routine that’s consistent.

I hope this was really informative to help you add Pilates to your weight training routines. If you have any questions put them the comments below. I will answer them Sunday at 9 am Pacific time and by the way, if you’re interested in having consistent Mat practice to your weight training routines, and you would like to have feedback, community, accountability and making sure you’re doing it right because if you weight train, I know you’re concerned about doing things right. Then I would love for you to join us at onlinepilatesclasses.com/free. Thank you so much.

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.

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with OPC Teachers.
Enjoying Lesley's teaching style? Willing to travel? Explore the world while maintaining your practice by joining Lesley on a Pilates retreat.

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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

GATHER ROUND

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

We gather good things in circles…friends, flowers, pie! So let’s get our circles on! In this week’s Mat and Reformer classes we’ll be focusing on how the size and shape of circular work changes how we feel an exercise. We’ll even be adding some circular movements along the way! You won’t need any extra props and please, have your box for the Reformer class.

See you in class,
Tami

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, box and a reformer!

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

ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

This week we will focus on all things Rowing! How do the other exercises help our rowing series and how does rowing influence the others! Finding the arm/back connection throughout the class is how we will Row Row Row Our Boat to the finish line!

Light hand weights needed for the Mat class!

See you in class,
Mindi

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light hand 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.

    STAND BY ME

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    The key to longevity is being able to get down to the ground and up again with as little assistance as possible. In this weeks class we are going to focus on how to stand in your feet no matter where they are in space.

    On the Mat we will have a playful ending that Joseph Pilates would do!

    The Reformer we’ll end challenging ourselves standing on our carriage. (Options to do the exercises off the Reformer too!)

    No props needed.

    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.

    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.