Does Pilates help increase abdominal and upper extremity strength and endurance?

One of the common questions I get from patients in the clinic  is “will doing Pilates help me” and then I answer their question with another question “well, what are your fitness goals?”.  If you need to increase your core strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance, then the answer is an unequivocal YES!

Pilates can be a very important component of your fitness program since the emphasis is on core strengthening and improving flexibility, both of which most of us lack as we become more “mature”.  I just read a study by June Kloubec from Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota that looked to see if doing a 1 hour session of mat based Pilates exercises 2  times per week could effect abdominal endurance, hamstring flexibility, upper body muscular endurance, posture and balance.

After 12 weeks, the participants were re-tested and the results were very favorable:  the participants in the study demonstrated significant increases in abdominal endurance, hamstring flexibiliy, and upper body strength. 

So how do you know if you have core muscular weakness issues?  One example would be if you injure your back without doing anything dramatic, such as “I just bent over to pick up a pen” or my favorite, ” I must have hurt myself in my sleep since I  just woke up with this pain” .

For my local Bellingham readers who have been thinking about giving Pilates a try, the Pilates Studio of Bellingham would be an excellent choice.  Maria and Geoffrey Knight do an outstanding  job and they are constantly learning to add new classes to compliment their Pilates classes. 

Remember, movement is life, so get moving!

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