Should I Do Pilates, Weight Lifting Or Both To Build Strength?

Weight Training for Strength

Weight training is perhaps the most common strength building discipline

If you are looking to build strength, tone your body and improve your overall health and fitness, you may be wondering which exercise discipline is the best way to achieve this.

You’ve heard about weight lifting and all the many benefits it has to offer, and there’s also Pilates which can help you build strength and shape your physique as well.

Let’s compare some of the key benefits that come from each of these two disciplines so that you can decide which is best for you, or whether to fit both into your strength building regime…

Strength Building

The first element to consider is strength building. Which form of exercise will have you getting the strongest?  The answer here is clear.

Weight lifting, when done properly, will easily allow you to build up great muscle strength – far greater than Pilates ever will.

While you may gain more strength in a wider range of motion with Pilates, it’s strength training that really helps build lean muscle mass.

Flexibility Enhancement

In terms of flexibility, Pilates takes the win.  Pilates is going to help you learn how to move your body through a much greater range of movement, improving your flexibility and agility.

If you are quite stiff and immobile right now, doing strength training could actually just make the situation worse if you aren’t careful.

Weight training can lead to shortened muscle tissue, increased stiffness, and over time, make it harder to do activities you enjoy, assuming you aren’t doing outside flexibility work.

Stretching after a hard weights workout is a must, but far too many people neglect to do this.

Cardio Development

When looking at cardio development, weight training comes out ahead.

Pilates Strength Training

Pilates is a more subtle form of strength training but can yield amazing results

If you are doing a set of heavy squats for instance or heavy walking lunges, you’ll soon come to see that these ramp your heart rate up considerably, just as much, if not more, than a regular cardio workout session would.

Pilates on the other hand, may elevate your heart rate slightly, but it will never match that of weight training.

If you want to cut out your cardio sessions, weight lifting will be the better choice.

Otherwise, a combination of Pilates and cardio will be your best route.

Calorie Burning

When looking at the calorie burning benefits of these two exercises, they will come in about equally.

If you are doing an intense Pilates session, you’ll likely burn just about as many calories as an intense weight lifting workout.

But, where weight lifting comes out ahead is in the fact that it’s going to help you burn calories for hours after the workout is finished so this can give you that extra boost you need to really see optimal fat loss results.

This is because you’ll experience a high rate of muscle tissue breakdown after a weight lifting session, which then needs to be repaired.

That repair process takes a high level of energy, which is why you see the calorie increase.

Your body will be working hard after each session is completed, repairing those tissues in preparation for the next time your muscles will need to lift the same weight (or greater).

While you may get this to a small degree after a Pilates workout, it will never be like that of what you’d see after a weight lifting session.

These are just a few of the main points to compare and contrast between weight lifting and Pilates.

Both can be used to build strength and muscle tone and improve your fitness, but each offers unique benefits that the other doesn’t quite posses.

Decide what’s most important to you and then base your decision around that.