Though some people may enjoy practising Pilates in a quiet environment, most would enjoy some ambient music. But deciding on what type of music to play can be tricky depending on the type of Pilates you’re doing and the intensity of your routine.
The best types of music to play while doing Pilates are ambient relaxing music, smooth and slow R&B music, slightly higher tempo disco or dance music, and uptempo pop music. The type of music you choose to play sets the mood and tempo of the workout, so choosing appropriately is essential.
Each different type of music is best for a different type of Pilates routine. In the paragraphs below, I’ll explain in further detail what makes each one of these different types of music suitable for Pilates and what type of routine fits best with each genre of music.
1. Ambient Relaxing Instrumental Music
Some people who do Pilates see it as a way of unwinding rather than as a workout. The benefits they seek from it are more spiritual and mental rather than physical. Pilates is a meditative stress reliever for many people.
People who approach Pilates in this way will want to be in a relaxing environment when they are going through their routine. Light ambient music can contribute to a peaceful environment that encourages people to lose themselves in their movements and breathing.
This type of music is best for slow-paced Pilates routines that place a great deal of emphasis on breath control and technique rather than building strength. This type of music is excellent for those that like to do some Pilates to ease into their morning and start their day.
Relaxing slow-tempo instrumental music is meant to be a part of the ambiance of the Pilates area, not the centerpiece. It’s just the bare minimum above silence so that it is not a distraction. Many Pilates instructors will use this type of music in classes to make instruction easier.
This is the best type of music for beginners because it is more background noise than actual music. It encourages a deep focus and helps build the mind-muscle connection when performing the exercises.
The immersion in the workout that this type of music provides really unlocks the mental benefits of Pilates. Pilates is great for constructively dealing with stress. With your mind entirely calm and relaxed, your body will follow suit.
2. Smooth R&B Music
R&B music is a great choice to listen to during Pilates. It provides you with some words to sing along with, which makes your workout a lot more fun. But this type of music typically keeps the tempo pretty slow so you can still control your heart rate and your breathing.
Listening to some of your old favorite songs while you work through your Pilates routine will make the workout fly by. You’ll enjoy the music so much that you won’t notice how much time has passed. Four songs that are five minutes long each amount to a full 20 minutes of Pilates!
Having some good music to look forward to during your workout will create a great incentive to stay committed to your Pilates schedule. You can make playlists and add new songs to keep your activities feeling new and fresh.
R&B is suitable for Pilates precisely because of the music’s slower tempo and the performers’ beautiful voices. Both of these things serve to keep you relaxed while going through your routine. The slow tempo keeps you from getting overly excited and losing focus.
Staying relaxed is essential to controlling your muscles properly. Controlling your breathing ensures that your muscles receive the proper amount of oxygen and blood flow. Smooth R&b provides an excellent tempo for getting a workout while staying relaxed and focusing on breath control.
This genre is the best of both worlds. It provides an excellent balance between giving some motivation and something to entertain you without being distracting or overwhelming tempo-wise.
3. Mid-Tempo Disco or Dance Music
This genre of music is more of a fun type of music for your Pilates workout. If you have a routine that involves a lot of rhythmic movements or your body, this type of music can make you feel more like you are dancing than working out.
Music with a slightly faster tempo can be a great way to energize workouts that involve a lot of movement of the arms and legs. If this type of music is played during a routine with lots of static exercises, you may have trouble holding still.
Listening to disco or mid-tempo dance music while you do Pilates changes the vibe of the workout a bit and creates an environment almost similar to traditional training. It is essential to stay focused on the fundamentals of the exercises you are performing.
When playing this type of music during Pilates, you become susceptible to catching the rhythm and slightly dancing to the beat when you are in a static position. It is essential to maintain your focus if this is your music of choice for Pilates.
When the exercise is a dynamic one where you are moving around, it is great to feel the energy of the music and let it fuel you. However, you can’t let your heart rate and breathing get out of control because you enjoy the music so much.
If you enjoy the feeling that comes with practicing Pilates while listening to this type of music, then you can create a playlist with songs of a similar tempo. Having uniformity in rhythm across all the songs on the playlist will help keep you focused throughout the routine.
4. Uptempo Pop Music
If you like to break a sweat and work hard during your Pilates workouts, then you are probably already listening to fast-paced pop music when you practice Pilates. This type of music fits best with intense activities that involve a lot of moving around.
Listening to these uptempo songs can provide an excellent full-body workout if you are incorporating lots of dynamic movement in your Pilates workout. Moving your legs around uses a lot of muscles in your abdomen, which can give you a very effective ab workout.
Since this type of music is tailored more to more intense Pilates routines, it is best to start with some slower music if you are a beginner. If you are just starting out, it is best that you are not distracted by the music while you are trying to learn the basics.
While faster up-tempo pop music is not for everybody, it does make this list because of the energy it brings to your workouts. With the right combination of a Pilates routine that is heavy with dynamic movements and a fast-paced playlist, you can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
If you are experienced and looking for a new challenge, you can try a new routine incorporating some up-tempo pop music. You can adjust the length of your workout to account for the intensity you will be working at. It is good to push yourself and try new things, but you should always be safe and know your limits.
5. No Music
Of course there’s nothing wrong with doing a workout without any music at all. This is especially true if you’re outdoors, where nature can provide its own soundtrack of bird song, or the seas lapping waves.
Sometimes a quiet workout can also offer an opportunity for a moment of internal reflection.
Most of the workout videos on my YouTube channel are filmed without any background music, allowing you to add your own while enjoying the Pilates exercises.