A common question we hear is, “what’s better for me, Pilates or weight training?” Weight training can help to improve bone density, increase muscle mass, improve the strength of connective tissue, muscles, and tendons. However, because weight training itself doesn’t teach you how to identify when you are moving into a dangerous range of motion, it can lead to injury both in and out of the gym.
Pilates has all the same benefits, albeit you won’t develop as much muscle mass. Pilates can assist you in improving your joint mobility and is lower impact than traditional weight training, placing less stress on your muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons.
Traditional weight training tends to isolate and work with individual muscles. This can help you to get the most benefit from each lift when a single muscle is isolated. However, most people don’t realise that when completing these lifts, joints such as their neck, shoulder, low back and hips aren’t protected because their body hasn’t been adequately trained to brace against the force of the weights.
In Pilates, you will learn how to use your stabiliser or “core” muscles to brace and counteract against the destabilising effects that occur when you lift any weight. During 4ME Pilates classes, we teach our clients how to consciously engage their core stabiliser muscles while doing all stretches and resistance training.
Learning how to activate your core stabilisers can help you in your day to day life as well. Proper core engagement can help you to avoid injury when completing tasks such as cleaning, carrying groceries, bending to pick items up from the ground, and much more!
So, which should I choose, you may be asking?
Well, to put it simply, it’s up to you and depends on what your goals are and what you enjoy. If you want to build muscle mass and aren’t too concerned about mobility, perhaps weight training is for you. But, if you want to tone your muscles and increase your flexibility, then Pilates may be your go to exercise choice.
It is good to keep in mind that both weight training and Pilates can complement one another. Weight training can assist you in building up your strength, and Pilates can help you to improve your flexibility and keep your core strong, which in turn will assist you in becoming stronger and staving off injury.
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