How Do Pilates Work For Weight Loss?

Pilates for weight losss

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    Wondering if Pilates is effective for weight loss? The answer is yes! Add Pilates to your fitness routine, achieve a healthy and toned body while losing excess body weight. Learn all that you need to know before you begin Pilates here.

    What Is Pilates?


    It is advisable to seek a go-ahead from your doctor before you start any strenuous exercise regimen. It is also critical to train under the supervision of a certified fitness trainer, who will analyse your fitness levels, help you set realistic weight loss goals to avoid any severe health complications or sports injuries.

    Joseph Pilates, a German physical trainer, created Pilates as a workout routine in the 1920s. It is a popular, low-impact, full-body fitness activity, which primarily strengthens your body using specific breathing and movement techniques. In the process, you expend calories leading to weight loss.

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    Is Pilates Good For Weight Loss?

    Yes, as mentioned earlier, Pilates aids calorie burn that eventually helps you shed excess weight. The rate at which you lose weight depends on the intensity and the total time you spend engaging in this dynamic workout. As the activity mainly emphasises toning muscles and your core, it is also effective in maintaining healthy body weight.

    How Much Weight Can You Lose with Pilates?

    Pilates can effectively increase calorie-burn and significantly impact your body weight, BMI, and body fat percentage in adults who are overweight or obese. For an individual weighing 68kgs, a beginner 150-minute Pilates’ session can burn 175 calories, while an advanced session will burn 254 calories in the same time. By supplementing Pilates with a balanced diet and other cardio exercises, you can achieve significant weight loss. You can lose 0.5 to 1kg through Pilates in one week.

    How Pilates Helps In Weight Loss?

    Pilates is an excellent exercise to improve flexibility, core strength and maintain healthy body weight with regular practice. By impacting the body composition, Pilates helps lose extra weight and this is also known as ‘The Pilates Effect.’

    The intense movements of Pilates help in elevating your heart rate and increasing overall calorie expenditure, which contributes to weight loss. There are also several Pilates workouts tailored to increase core strength and body stability. They promote lean muscle mass and improve your overall body composition. As a result, the body’s posture, energy levels and metabolism undergo a complete overhaul, reducing fat and giving you a healthy and toned appearance.

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    Top 5 Weight Loss Benefits Of Pilates

    The following are the top 5 weight loss advantages you will gain with Pilates:

    pilates for weight loss

    1.  Accelerates Weight Loss: As mentioned earlier, Pilates qualifies as an effective exercise to reach your goal weight by burning calories at a high rate. According to one study, doing Pilates for 8 weeks led to weight loss in a control group of 37 obese women in the age group of 30 and 50.
    2. Helps Maintain Healthy Weight: Pilates is an engaging and enjoyable workout, unlike other tedious exercise routines. This makes it easier to stay committed and consistent and thus maintain a healthy weight.
    3. Suitable For All: Pilates is a low-impact fitness routine that is also suitable for those who may be recovering from injuries. You can do Pilates in the comfort of your home. Begin slowly, develop endurance and then perform high-intensity Pilates with ease.
    4. Strengthens And Tones Muscles: Regular practice of Pilates actively engages the core muscles, helps strengthen and tone up muscles. It is effective in achieving a well-toned and flat tummy. In a 2015 study, participants experienced increased upper and lower limb strength after 12 weeks of practising Pilates. You will build lean muscles, improving your body shape and achieve a slimmer appearance.
    5. Improves Flexibility And Posture: Specific movements in Pilates and breath work improve flexibility and posture. Pilates also aids in better management of back pain and back injuries.

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    Top 10 Pilates Workout for Weight Loss

    The following are the top, most popular Pilates’ postures that help in weight loss.

    pilates for weight loss

    1. The Hundred: This warm-up posture engages the core and straightens the abs. Lie down on your back and lift your legs at a 45-degree angle. Now lift your head and your abdomen while inhaling and exhale as you release. Move your arm up and down as you breathe. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
    2. Kneeling Sidekicks: This is a great movement to work your waist circumference. Lie sideways on the mat and put your palm down on the left side. Extend your right leg and place your right hand behind your head. Now inhale and swing your left leg without changing the position of your upper body. Exhale and kick your leg in the forward position. Repeat kicking while maintaining your upper body in the same position 8 to 10 times. Now repeat with the other leg.
    3. Swimming: Swimming is a popular Pilates movement that targets abdominal and butt muscles. Lie on your stomach and lift your hands, legs and upper part of the chest. Inhale and exhale normally. Lift your arm and try to move them as you swim on the count of 1 to 10. Do this 20 to 30 times.
    4. Pilates Push-ups: This is a very popular Pilates move that works on the upper and lower body and the core. Stand on a mat and then round over to reach down in the push-up position. Crawl up with your palm and perform 3-5 push-ups. Crawl back up, stand and relax. Repeat this 4-5 times.
    5. Leg Pull-up: This movement targets the back of the leg and thigh muscles – glutes, hamstrings and triceps. On a mat, sit tall with your legs extended and hands placed behind you facing inward. Now raise your hips gently in the air making sure that the body remains straight and there is no movement on the sides. Do this while inhaling deeply and raise one leg at a time. Now release the body and return to the mat slowly while exhaling and raising another leg. Do this 5-10 times alternately and increase the count.
    6. V-ups: This one is great for belly fat. Lie down on the mat and lift your arms and legs simultaneously to make a ‘V.’ Hold this position for 3-5 minutes and release. Repeat 8-10 times.
    7. Swan: This posture helps strengthen and massage spine muscles while also working on the abdominal, buttocks and leg muscles. Lie down on the stomach and place your palms out front. Keep your legs wide apart and slowly lift your upper body while inhaling deeply. Stretch as much as you can, release and exhale. Repeat this 6-10 times.
    8. Plank Jacks: Regular Plank Jacks will give you a toned and flat belly. Lie on the mat in a plank position. Now begin moving your legs sideways, one leg at a time, while inhaling and exhaling. Do 15-20 reps and 4-5 sets.
    9. Standing Footwork: A classic Pilates movement, standing footwork primarily targets glutes and hamstrings while strengthening the ankles. Stand with your feet apart in a squat position. Your arms should be in front of the body. Now bend your knees to squat halfway, and then hold it to the count of 3. Stand back and repeat it 15-20 times.
    10. Rolling like a ball: This movement helps restore your balance and relaxes the back. Sit on the mat and bend your knees to your chest while tucking your head between the knees. Now drop your shoulders behind and roll on your upper back like a ball. Do not lie on your neck. Repeat this 10-15 times.

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    Top 5 Expert Tips To Help You In Your Pilates Journey

    pilates for weight loss

    1. Set realistic goals and make gradual progress as you may run the risk of injuries such as muscle spasms or sprains. Take 5-10 minutes to warm up before every session. Also, be prepared to experience sore muscles when you begin with Pilates.
    2. Be patient. You will first notice a change in your body composition and muscles, followed by weight loss. As Pilates will stretch and align your body while working on major muscle groups, it is important to give your body a break to do the repair work.
    3. Wear the right clothes so that your movements are not restricted. Always check your form while practising postures and movements. Pay attention to breathing techniques.
    4. Have a protein-rich snack or drink after your Pilates session to replenish the body and strengthen your muscles. Stay hydrated to eliminate toxins effectively.
    5. Eat well-balanced and nutritious meals if you are aiming to lose weight. Include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Eliminate unprocessed, unhealthy, sugary and refined foods from your diet.

    Must Read: Is Swimming Good For Weight Loss?


    You now know that the advantages of Pilates go beyond weight loss. An effective and enjoyable fitness activity, Pilates allows consistency. Over time, you can achieve a well-toned, fit body and a sustainably healthy lifestyle.

    If you are contemplating kick-starting a fitness regimen, you must visit Oliva Skin & Hair Clinic. Our team of experts will provide a custom-made fitness solution unique to your weight and health needs. Join Oliva’s fitness program and transform your lifestyle today!

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    About The Author

    Kushneet Kukreja

    Kushneet Kukreja

    A postgraduate in Biotechnology from Kingston University and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition, Kushneet Kukreja is a passionate writer who works in close association with the dermatologists at our head office to generate valuable and scientifically accurate content for our blog.

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