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Pilates strength training and weight lifting are alike in some ways, and different in others. Strength training no matter how you do it is about getting stronger. The difference between weightlifting and Pilates is how your strength will develop.

Here at PBX, we practice reformer Pilates and barre. The reformer, a bed-like structure with moving “carriage,” is used to perform infinite exercises. The user can perform moves while lying down, standing and sitting. Using a reformer provides all the same benefits as mat Pilates, with the added bonus of eccentric muscles contractions. This is when your muscles lengthen as it resists force.

Unlike weight lifting, reformer Pilates does not create bulk. Like weight lifting, it conditions the body, focusing on the core through movement that creates flexibility and endurance. Pilates helps you understand your body and how it moves, and it can dynamically transform your physique and enhance confidence about your looks.

With weights, you build muscle. You will get stronger and bigger, using a many different exercises for developing specific muscles. Pilates strength training consists of exercises that develop the body as a whole, pushing it to new levels with each exercise. The reformer allows you full range of motion, which encourages strength AND length in your muscles. You get the desired long and lean look rather than “bulking up.”

Even if you're looking to be the next Mr. or Miss Universe, a Pilates routine can be advantageous. Pilates will create a stronger core, building up the deepest layers of muscle and providing lifters with a better base. You will also learn more about how your body works, which will give you a better sense of how far you can safely push it. Pilates will also help in the recovery process after weight workouts.

Pilates strength training works with what you have and works to make it better. It doesn't ask you to burn calories or eat less, although once people start seeing results, they often are encouraged to eat healthier.

Weight lifting can seem tedious and intimidating. Pilates asks you to relax. You learn about stretching and balance. Its principles center on well-being that benefits not only the body but also concentration, control of flowing movement and breathing. The practice is as much mental as it is physical.

Pilates and weight lifting both have roles to play in toning your body and achieving good health, but neither can do everything. If you are interested in burning fat, boosting your metabolism, increasing bone density and looking like a beast on the beach, Pilates isn’t the key. It won't make your muscles larger and thicker. It is, however, possible to incorporate weights into Pilates strength training.

Take advantage of the type of exercise that you are comfortable with, that makes you happy, and that helps you achieve your mental and physical goals. Or embrace both worlds, and split up your four or five weekly workouts between the weight room and Pilates, either in classes or at home. You may end up deciding you prefer one over the other, or you may come to appreciate the benefits of both.

PBX® pilates barre extreme offers exercise classes in Raleigh, NC, including Pilates for strength training and to enhance flexibility, endurance, and overall health. Contact us online or call 919-435-4229.