Can I lift weights after Pilates?


Weight lifting is probably one of the most popular workouts since it gives visible results. Many also combined weight training with Pilates to help improve their flexibility and overall posture. However, can you do the workouts back to back? Can you lift weights after Pilates?

In general, you can lift weights after Pilates. However, it may be helpful to tone down the intensity of both exercises to reduce the likelihood of overtraining. It is also important not to do it every day, as your body needs rest after an intense workout.

I’ve written this article to discuss if you can lift weights after Pilates and if doing it together may cause overtraining. I’ll also discuss the suitability of cardio with Pilates as well.

I’ll also explain how weight lifting and Pilates complement each other before discussing in deeper detail how you can safely combine both into your exercise regime. 

What Are The Benefits Of Pilates And Weight Lifting?

Weight lifting focuses on building explosive strength and muscle mass, resulting in you growing larger muscles and greater physical strength. Pilates helps to develop endurance and flexibility. It also helps to improve muscular-skeletal conditions such as back pain or hunching. 

Weightlifting exercises allow you to train a certain area of your body and build strength and muscle mass. This is often achieved through repetitive application of stress and pressure on the muscle, usually through the use of weights. 

As muscles are forced to handle the weights, the muscle fibres became torn on a micro level. As muscles heal, they learn to develop stronger and more muscle fibers. This general increase in muscle fibers and mass results in larger muscles and more strength. 

As a result, those who perform a lot of weight lifting tend to develop muscle mass, giving them a bulked-up look. Many will also be able to generate greater ‘explosive’ power from the muscles, allowing them to lift heavier weights. 

Pilates is also a workout that is based on muscles. However, it also focuses on aspects such as posture and breathing, plus it has been shown to have mental health benefits as well as physical benefits.

In general, Pilates workouts use your own body weight, rather than external heavy weights, and involves stretches and pulls that help to improve not just muscle strength but flexibility as well.  

Some of these movements also activate specific muscle groups and help to normalize spine positions. As a result, Pilates is great for those with posture or muscular-skeletal issues, such as back pain, neck pain, and slouching.

As a result, those that engage in Pilates usually have stronger core muscles, better muscular awareness, better posture, and flexibility.  All of which reduces your general risk of injuries in other fitness activities.

Do Weight Lifting and Pilates Complement Each Other?

Weightlifting and Pilates complement each other, especially in muscle training. Weightlifting and Pilates balance muscle development and growth, ensuring that as the muscle grows in size and strength, it does not lose its flexibility. Pilates also builds posture and muscular awareness, which is vital in weight training.

Weight lifting is excellent at building muscle mass and strength. However, as muscles grow and you bulk up more and more, you may lose some of the flexibility you used to have.  

You have two ways to ensure this doesn’t happen. First, by ensuring you perform a wide range of motions while weightlifting. But the range of motions you can perform depends on the exercise you know how and your equipment. 

The second option is to integrate Pilates into your workout. Pilates stretches and pulls your muscles back to their original state if they have become compressed and restricted in movement after weight training. 

Pilates may also assist you in developing better muscle, posture, and breathing awareness. As you perform the stretches and movements, you will learn and feel better muscles being pulled and stretched, which may be helpful if you are weightlifting. 

Can I Lift Weights After Pilates?

There are no restrictions on whether you can or cannot lift weights after Pilates. However, ensuring your body can handle both workouts well may be prudent. Consider reducing the intensity of both workouts to avoid possible injury and overtraining. Also, consider rest days in between to allow healing.

In general, there is nothing to stop you lifting weights after Pilates. In fact, there are also merits to only lifting weights after performing Pilates.

Those that see merit in Pilates before lifting weights see that Pilates serves as a way to warm up and prepare the muscles. Pulling, stretching, and limbering up the muscles may allow them to work better during weight lifting. 

Plus, when doing Pilates, you are made to be mentally aware of your muscles, posture, and breathing, which may help you to be alert to these things too when you lift weights later. 

However, it may be great to monitor the intensity of both your workouts if you intend to do them together. Although Pilates is a low-intensity workout, you will be surprised by how sore you can be the next day. 

This is because Pilates can make you work on muscles that you probably have never thought of. Pilates also makes you train on muscle endurance more instead of explosive strength, which may tire them differently.

Suppose you are too intense in your Pilates. In that case, you may not have much left in the tank to handle another intensive session, such as a 1-hour Olympic max powerlifting session. 

Tired muscles may make you try to compensate by relying on other muscles or momentum or become less focused on your posture and breathing. Combined, they can lead to injury.

Another thing to consider is the duration of your workout. Combining Pilates and weight lifting in a single session can be pretty stressful on the body, and doing it every day may not be a good idea. It may be prudent to have at least a rest day in between, so your body can rest and heal. 

What Is The Best Way To Integrate Pilates With Weight Training?

There is no perfect way to do this. Still, it could be a good idea to alternate between Pilates and weight training, with rest days to allow rejuvenation. Weight training can also focus on different parts of your body. This reduces workout intensity, allowing you to focus better and perform better.

The American Council of Exercise does mention the dangers of overtraining, which may lead to either mental fatigue or physical injury. Combining Pilates and weight training back-to-back every day is probably a recipe to achieve just that. 

This means you want to rethink your workout scheduling if you intend to integrate both Pilates and weight training into your workout regime. 

One suggestion may be to alternate between Pilates and weight lifting daily and dedicate a rest day. The idea here is to split the workouts on different days so that you do not perform both on the same day. 

This reduces the intensity of your workouts, allowing you to do them daily. You also can be more intense with your workout since you know you would not need to follow up with another exercise. 

You may also split your weight training into areas of your body so that you will not tire out all body parts. For example, if you only weight train your upper body on Monday, your lower body will be fresher when you do Pilates on Tuesdays. 

As a start, you may consider the following scheduling:

  • Monday: Weight training – lower body
  • Tuesday: Pilates
  • Wednesday: Weight training – upper-body 
  • Thursday: Pilates
  • Friday: weight training – full-body
  • Saturday: Pilates
  • Sunday: Rest

Learn more about how A Pilates practice can be helpful in your active recovery

If you’re running low on time you can always do a combined workout, using small handweights to add additional challenge to your Pilates routine.

Can I Do Cardio After Pilates?

You may consider cardio exercise after Pilates, as cardio exercises tend to focus on areas of exercise that Pilates does not focus on. However, you may also want to take note of the intensity of the workout, as intensive, back-to-back Pilates and cardio can lead to overtraining. 

READ MORE: Should I do HIIT or Pilates first?

Cardio exercises such as HIIT can complement Pilates, as cardio exercises work on areas that Pilates may not. Pilates focuses on generic Musco-skeletal toning and posture, breathing, and core strength. Cardio may focus on stamina, cardiovascular system, and muscle endurance. 

However, similar to combining Pilates with weight lifting, you also want to monitor the intensity of the exercises. Intense Pilates can leave you with little energy or willpower to focus and do your cardio properly. 

When not done correctly, you may not execute the movements properly during cardio training. You may also not keep the rhythm of your breathing well or maintain your posture while doing your cardio training. As a result, your injury risk may increase. 

Sources

https://www.stylist.co.uk/fitness-health/does-weight-training-decrease-flexibility-fitness-trainers-answer-the-most-googled-questions/408140

Donna Finnie

Donna loves to share her passion for Pilates with others. She is a fully qualified instructor who believes Pilates is for everyone, regardless of age, as it can truly help to increase strength, flexibility mobility and athletic performance.

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