One of Joseph Pilates’ most famous quotes says it best: “In 10 sessions you will feel
the difference. In 20 sessions you will see the difference. And in 30 sessions you will
have a whole new body.” He says in his book, Return to Life Through Contrology,
originally published in 1945:
“If you will faithfully perform your Contrology exercises regularly only four times a
week for just three months, you will find your body development approaching the
ideal, accompanied by renewed mental vigor and spiritual enhancement.”
Ideal body, mental vigor, spiritual enhancement, sign us up! You can reduce back
pain with one session. You can relieve stress at the end of a long week with one
session. But if you want to get a six pack, run a marathon without injury, get back
into pre-baby shape, or simply tone up some flab, make the commitment to Pilates
2-3 times a week.
Make The Commitment
Pilates, whether on the mat or on the equipment, does not work if you only do it
every once in awhile. You have to commit to a minimum of once a week. Here’s why:
1. Pilates has a steep learning curve. It requires regular practice and lots of
concentration. There are over 500 exercises to learn. Each exercise has a name
and a purpose (often several). The equipment setup is important for safety and
must be learned.
2. Even the simplest Pilates exercise focuses on multiple things – breathing,
coordinated muscle contractions, balance, control. As a beginner you tend to
focus on one or two things. As you get more advanced you begin to integrate
multiple levels of an exercise. The better you get, the more you get out of it.
3. Pilates exercises have a distinct progression from beginner to advanced. The
same exercise can be made more difficult by performing on one leg, adding/
subtracting a spring, changing your position. How will you know how to make the
exercise safe and appropriate for your level?
Ideally, Pilates is something you do 24/7. Joseph Pilates was all about the mind body
connection. Focusing on Pilates concepts everyday can help change old postural
habits (e.g., slumping in our seats, rolling our shoulders forward, standing in one hip)
The more you do it the more natural positive postural habits become.
Pilates builds a body awareness that translates into everything you do. So my
response to the question “How often should I do Pilates?” is this:
Once a week is great, 2 times a week is better, and 3 times a week is amazing! And
remember, Pilates doesn’t have to be your only exercise: commit to movement