How To Combine Pilates and Cardio (on the Same Day)

Both cardio and Pilates workouts have great health benefits and provide excellent exercise. They are both customizable and can be intense or easy, depending on the day. However, is it possible to get both Pilates and cardio done on the same day?

You can combine Pilates and cardio on the same day by either jogging before a Pilates class or choosing a Pilates class that already involves cardio work. The muscle toning provided by Pilates and calorie burning of cardio workouts is a great weight loss strategy.

In the rest of this article, we will discuss the practical benefits of doing a cardio workout and a Pilates workout on the same day. We will also look at cardio and Pilates’ benefits and how to combine them well without overloading your body.

Can I Do Pilates and Cardio on the Same Day?

Cardio and Pilates are both great workouts. If you are going to the gym and want to get them both in or have some spare time before a Pilates class for a jog, the exercise combination is possible.

While it is essential to be careful with the amount of exercise you do in one day, there are ways to safely combine strength training and cardio workouts on the same day. You can achieve excellent physical results and lessen the frequency of your trips to the gym. 

How Do You Combine Pilates and Cardio? 

There are several ways to combine a Pilates workout and a cardio workout safely to get them both done on the same day. It is vital that you know your limits and listen to your body. If you are in pain or too exhausted after an exercise session, it is necessary to rest and recover.

Consecutive Pilates and Cardio 

If you decide to work out twice in a row, it’s imperative to do it safely. Do less of each than you would if you were only doing cardio or Pilates – the combination of the two workouts will be more strenuous than just one or the other.

Experts recommend a maximum cardio workout of twenty minutes before strength training exercises. This will get your heart rate up and loosen your muscles without over-straining them. Pilates stretches and strengthening exercises complement the cardio and complete your workout, as long as they aren’t both working the same muscle groups (if your Pilates instructor focuses on legs, a shorter run might be necessary).

If you have a lighter Pilates class, you could do some short cardio after, instead of before, Pilates. However, most Pilates classes offer a full workout in themselves, so it is essential to know how much you can do. You can try running before and after strength training on different days and find out which works best for you.

Combined Pilates and Cardio

Some gyms offer “cardio Pilates” – a variety of Pilates infused with cardio. This is the simplest way to combine Pilates and cardio and is usually put together by a trainer who knows the best ways to combine strength and cardio training. A cardio Pilates class is easy, convenient, and safe for those looking to combine the two workouts.

Here is a 45-minute cardio Pilates video to give you an idea of what classes are like:

Separate Pilates and Cardio

The safest way to do two full separate workouts in one day is to do them at different times of the day. Completing Pilates in the morning and cardio in the evening (or the other way around) will allow your body to rest and give you more overall energy. 

Working out twice in one day will increase your metabolism, especially in the time right after your exercise. It could also help you sleep better, regulate your body temperature, and give you energy throughout the day. 

Of course, always keep your limits in mind, and don’t work out twice every day of the week. Overtraining is possible even with rest between exercises. It is helpful to start the day with your more intense workout so you can relax in the evening. 

Is Pilates Good Cardio? 

Cardio is an exercise that works your large muscles, causes your heart rate to rise, and causes you to breathe more deeply. Therefore, cardio can be integrated into many different workouts, as long as you do it safely. 

Pilates by itself can provide an excellent cardio workout to the body. It is primarily muscle training, but it is easy to add cardio into a strength training routine. If you do Pilates at home, you can add cardio intervals to your usual workout and get both done simultaneously.

It’s important to do workouts correctly and not strain your muscles. Just doing Pilates moves at a faster pace would not only be an ineffective way to make Pilates more cardio-intensive, but it could also be dangerous. Pilates moves are specific to their muscle groups and have to be done correctly, or they could cause injuries.

Here are some suggestions for Pilates moves that you can add to adjust for cardio:

  • Burpees 
  • Squat jumps
  • High knees 
  • Skaters (lateral lunges)
  • Mountain climbers
  • Lunges
  • Planks
  • Bridges 

Benefits of Pilates and Cardio Combined

Pilates and cardio are a great combo exercise, especially for those trying to lose weight and tone muscle. Pilates focuses on muscle growth and resistance training and has a full-body focus. Pilates instructors often focus on breathing patterns, mindfulness, overall health, and specific muscle groups. 

Cardio is also known for being great for overall health – by working the large muscle groups and bringing up the heart rate, cardio helps with strength and energy levels. Regular cardio will increase heart health, help with weight loss, and increase mental health and focus.

Combined, the two exercises can be a total workout program. Because you can focus on specific muscle groups or have a lower impact stretching workout, you can work your entire body within a week. Cardio works the major muscles and provides heart and core improvement. The two exercises efficiently burn fat and calories when done safely and consistently. 

The Dangers of Over-Exercising

It is crucial when exercising to know when to stop. If you overwork your body and don’t let yourself rest, it could lead to muscle straining and sustained injuries. Many people who work out too much end up not being able to work out at all, and you don’t want this to be you. 

However, it is safe to combine workouts as long as you do it well. If you follow these tips on exercising more than once and trying to gain more endurance, you are less likely to injure yourself while exercising:

  • Listen to your body – if you are experiencing sharp pains, stop immediately 
  • Combine different types of exercise (like strength training and cardio) 
  • Make sure not to overwork specific muscle groups in one day
  • Do both types of activities in shorter amounts than you would if you were only working out once 
  • Alternate between heavy and light exercise days
  • Let yourself rest and recover between workouts 
  • Stretch well to keep your muscles loose 

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to go on a jog before a Pilates class, choose a cardio Pilates exercise, or do cardio and Pilates at different times of the day, you can gain the benefits of both Pilates and cardio. When appropriately applied, Pilates’ workout techniques combined with cardio exercises make one of the best weight loss plans out there! 


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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