Many people are shocked at how small movements using your body weight can reshape and tone your entire body. Because Pilates’ controlled movements use deep core muscles to stabilize and target small and large muscle groups all at once, you do not need a super-fast paced cardio or big, heavy weights to see a visible difference in your physique. Instead, Pilates is about resistance and control. The results are strong and stable muscles, visible muscle tone, balanced musculature, and improved flexibility – measurements of strength that go beyond muscle mass or numbers on the scale.
What you end up with at Sheppard Method Pilates of Westwood is a practice that helps to build long, lean, functionally strong muscles, reshaping your body like no other workout can. No matter what your summer body goals are this year, regular Pilates practice can transform the way you envision yourself through swimsuit season and beyond.
How Does Pilates Build Muscle?
Pilates is a series of controlled movements using body weight and resistance to build muscle. While you won’t be putting on large amounts of muscle mass, you will be reforming, toning, and building muscles to gain overall strength through low-impact resistance training. Resistance training is scientifically proven to increase metabolic rate, reduce fat weight, and increase lean muscle—no lifting of heavy weights is required.
When doing mat Pilates, you can increase resistance by adding resistance bands, the Magic Circle, a Pilates mini-ball, or light dumbbells (we’re talking 2 to 3 lbs). In Reformer classes, you simply adjust the resistance by adding or removing springs. As you get stronger, your practice progresses with you!
What Muscles Does Pilates Strength Training Build?
Pilates is all about the core, but that’s not all you’ll be working out. Pilates targets full range of motion for a total body workout that simply starts with the core through stabilization. Controlled, focused movements extend to other parts of the body, firing up several small and large muscle groups such as:
- Core muscles: Yes, you may notice the development of a six-pack, but that is one sliver of what core strength is about. Pilates works the deep core, responsible for strength in the pelvic floor, lower back, and the entire multifid and transverse abdominal muscles. These muscles are responsible for stabilizing your entire body. Your spine, pelvis, trunk, and glutes all gain strength as you work that core. And, if you are looking to also lift weights, it’s important to know that a stronger core means the ability to lift heavier weights.
- Obliques: along with the deep core, the obliques make up the rest of your midsection, known as the Powerhouse. Your obliques are also responsible for stabilizing your trunk. While movements such as bicycle crunches work the external obliques, side planks will work the internal obliques. Both muscle groups are important for overall core strength and stability of the midline and posterior chain.
- That booty: The glutes are the largest and most powerful muscle in the body. Unlike standard squats, however, Pilates recognizes this part of the body as connected to your center. Pilates movements will target not only the Gluteus Maximus, but the hamstrings, stabilizer muscles, posterior chain, and gluteus minimus—the hip stabilizer muscle.
- Inner thighs: Abductor muscles are famously difficult to work; not with Pilates! This five–muscle group is crucial to provide internal rotation and mobility of the legs while walking, squatting, and other everyday functions. Weak abductor muscles can lead to tight hip flexors, immobility, and even groin injury. Often paired with oblique-targeted movements, the inner thighs are, luckily, a common area Pilates can tone and improve.
- Pelvic floor: Pelvic floor strength is underrated yet is necessary for bladder control, organ support, sexual function, blood circulation, and overall core strength. A weak pelvic floor can even cause overextension and injury of adjacent muscles such as the hip flexors. While anyone can benefit from strengthening the pelvic floor, those recovering from childbirth and cancer treatments are especially encouraged. Pilates breathwork and deep core exercises have been proven to aid in strengthening this area.
Sculpting Your Physique With Resistance Training For Toned, Lean Muscles
With Pilates, your body will gain the ability to burn more fat and keep it off with increased resting metabolism. This means that while you may not burn as many calories in a Pilates session as you would a high-impact cardio workout, your body will be harnessing the ability to maintain healthy fat loss long-term through sustained overall wellness. With lower body fat, all the muscles you build with those controlled Pilates movements will be more visible.
With Pilates, the results are toned, lean muscles due to low body fat and the transformation of how you move your body. Through sustained strength building and body conditioning, you are stretching your muscles during that necessary time under tension with resistance movements. This low-impact, full-body resistance training involves lengthening and expanding while improving flexibility and mobility. Practicing Pilates then improves posture to stand taller, move more gracefully, and overall show off all the hard work you’ve been putting in.
Attend Westwood Pilates Classes to Get Toned This Summer
This summer, honor your body with regular Pilates practice to tone, build muscle in all the right places, and feel confident! In better health and fitness, you can be proud of not only how your body looks, but how it moves and functions. See how you can transform your body this season at Sheppard Method Pilates in our Westwood boutique studio!
Call the Westwood Pilates instructors at Sheppard Method Pilates to book your first class and transform your body from the inside out!