Pilates and Weight Training - Mutually Exclusive or Better than the other?

How to Create a Complete Workout with Pilates & Weight Training

While Pilates and weight training are quite different, they actually complement one another quite nicely when combined properly.

Whether your main goal is to lose weight, tone up, or pack on as much muscle as possible, you can get a whole body workout by mixing Pilates with weight training.

There are four things to consider before you start this type of workout plan:

* The differences between Pilates workouts
* How to safely combine Pilates with weight training
* Using Pilates as an enhancement for weight training results
* Ways to incorporate Pilates into the overall workout plan and individual workouts

Understanding Pilates

Pilates movements performed on the mat or floor are different from those performed on a Pilates reformer.

The movements performed on a Pilates machine will be more strenuous on your muscles and will have more of a strengthening effect. The same moves modified for mat or floor performance will be less intensive for most people and therefore won't have as much impact as far as breaking the muscles down for increased lean muscle mass and strength.

When combining Pilates with weight training, you want to go with floor or mat exercises that will work on endurance, flexibility and stretching rather than focusing hard core on ripping the muscles up for increased lean muscle mass.

Remember, it is important never to overwork your muscles. This means doing hardcore Pilates on a recovery day from intense weight training could be detrimental to your body and your goals.

A lot of Pilates workouts are slower paced and can be very relaxing for the mind and body. If you speed it up some you may be able to use your Pilates workouts for cardio benefits as well. Or, just add sets of jumping jacks and other cardio moves into your weight training routines to get cardio and strengthening benefits at once.

Combining Pilates & Weight Training

When you are hitting the weights hard, Pilates should become a way to enhance those workouts and increase the results you see from the weight training.

You can do mild to moderate Pilates routines on your recovery days to work on flexibility and to release tension from the muscles. This will also stretch out the body and help your muscles recover a bit easier from the intense weight training.

You may also want to do some Pilates moves as a cool down and/or warm up for your strength training workouts.

If you want to do intense workouts on a Pilates machine, make sure that you are not targeting the same muscles day after day in weight training and Pilates.

Remember that the machines are more demanding on your muscles, so you should schedule these workouts with your weight training routine so each muscle group gets adequate rest between workouts.

A Note on Cross Training

Most athletes know the value of cross training. If weight training is your main passion, you can use Pilates as a method of cross training. It will give your body something different and keep it guessing as to what you will throw it's way next.

Pilates and weight training can be used together in a very effective manner, but you have to make sure you aren't doing aggressive Pilates workouts on the heels of aggressive strength training workouts. Vary the body parts targeted in each of these workouts and you will be able to cover the entire body without overstressing any one muscle group.

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