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Download the Pilates Article PDFPilate Myths Busted
By Moira Merrithew as published in On Fitness, 2005

Pilates provides a balanced, full-body workout that will strengthen and tone muscles in the arms and legs.


There are some Pilates programs that promote themselves as fat burning routines; however, science does not back up Pilates as being a form of exercise that specifically burns a lot of calories. Some form of aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming or walking, is recommended in conjunction with Pilates for an effective weight loss program that will slim and tone the entire body.

Pilates benefits the body by strengthening, toning and building muscle mass. The increase in muscle tissue causes a corresponding increase in metabolic rate, which can aid with weight loss (along with cardio supplementation). Stronger, healthier muscles will also metabolize fat much more effectively than weak, untrained muscles.

Plyometrics on the reformer (equipment used for Pilates), and cardio Pilates are becoming increasingly popular to boost calorie expenditure through Pilates exercises. There is also a trend of incorporating Pilates exercises into circuit training with aerobic exercises for fat burning and weight loss, (along with cardio supplementation).


Pilates is popularized as a great workout for your core: strengthening and toning your “powerhouse,” improving posture and flattening abs. But when it comes to full-body workouts, Pilates shouldn’t be relegated to the sidelines!

Pilates provides a balanced, full-body workout that will strengthen and tone muscles in the arms and legs. Try adding a resistance-circle device, or utilize Pilates equipment such as the reformer or stability chair for maximum benefits to the limbs and peripheral muscles.


Pilates doesn't necessarily lengthen all your muscles, but regular practice can give your muscles a longer, leaner appearance and a more slender look overall. To achieve this, it’s important for beginners to have regular sessions and work with a qualified instructor.

Pilates helps achieve this longer, leaner look in three different ways:

  1. The practice improves both the flexibility and strength of the muscles.
  2. It helps create the optimal relationship between muscles, resulting in improved posture and a more balanced physique. Pilates helps correct the imbalance between muscles, creating changes in alignment and allowing you to stand taller.
  3. By focusing on low resistance and on using various exercises to repeatedly work the muscle groups, Pilates tones muscles without bulking them up.


The global benefits of Pilates, such as enhanced body awareness, improved neuromuscular coordination and greater strength and flexibility, will improve sports performance no matter what your game. You can also practice Pilates conditioning for your favorite sport, to gain that extra edge and prep yourself for the season. Pilates training for golf, for example, will help you achieve a smoother, more efficient golf swing with greater range of motion, all while protecting against injury. Pilates benefits golfers through:

  • Heightened breathing awareness, promoting focus and decreasing neck tension
  • Enhanced stabilization of the spine during rotation, helping to prevent rotation, helping to prevent injury and promoting better biomechanics
  • Added strength and flexibility of the hip joints, allowing easier load transfer and allowing greater rotation during your swing
  • Increased symmetry of the body, helping to avoid injury and promote efficiency
  • Greater flexibility at the hip joints, allowing a more comfortable hinge forward
  • Increased strength and flexibility of the shoulder, arms and wrists, achieving a more comfortable, powerful swing
  • Improved rotation and increased abdominal strength, allowing you to have a more powerful swing
  • Improved neuromuscular coordination, connecting from the core to the periphery to create a more powerful swing