This 10-Minute Workout Proves That Pilates Is a Killer Strength-Training Exercise
Strength training and heavy weights go hand in hand, but there are so many different ways to strengthen the muscles in your entire body — even traditionally low-impact exercises like Pilates.
Take it from Naomi Idol — a Pilates instructor and the creator of TONED by Naomi at Fit Atelier — who designed her program to strengthen and tone the entire body through elements of Pilates, barre, and functional fitness practices.
"The Pilates foundation of class is always centered around the core. It is so important to be conscious of our core engagement during any workout, but especially TONED," Idol says.
While you're engaging your core, Idol says that you can focus on strengthening your lower body at the very same time — the same goes for your upper body and your back and chest.
If you're hesitant to pick up a set of heavy weights due to injury concerns, it's all the more reason to explore Pilates — just get the go-ahead from your doctor first!
"All Pilates-based exercises can be performed with bodyweight resistance and be just as effective as when performed with light weights for extra resistance," Idol says. "If you're looking to make bodyweight work more intense, you can always increase reps, decrease rest times, perform variations and modifications to make it more difficult and increase time under tension to continue to build upon strength. You'll notice that you get incrementally stronger, meaning that you can build on resistance over time."
Idol also says that in TONED classes, high-impact exercises are skipped, in order to eliminate pressure on the joints. "Instead, the heart rate is elevated through the toning and strengthening exercises."
Give Idol's method a go for yourself with the 10-minute workout ahead — the moves are all focused on strengthening the body through bodyweight resistance, which means no equipment needed! Idol recommends resting for 20-30 seconds between moves, but remember to listen to your body, work at your own pace, and always take rest as you need it.
"For a quick warmup to wake the body up, I like to reach my arms overhead as I inhale, then lower and cross center as I exhale. I perform this three times to prepare the body, mind, and breath for the workout," Idol says. To cool down, Idol suggests stretching the muscles that were worked during the exercise — do this while the muscles are still warm to speed up the recovery process and prevent soreness.