Consistency is the key to unlocking the full potential of any exercise, and Pilates is no exception. As you embark on your Pilates journey, you may find yourself asking, “How often should I do Pilates to get the best results?”
In this article, we will explore the benefits of regular Pilates practice and provide recommendations on the ideal frequency and duration of sessions to help you achieve your goals.
Why we recommend Pilates 2 times a week?
The minimum requirement for your body to adapt to a new exercise load is twice a week (ideally three times a week). When you exercise, you “load” the muscles, requiring them to adapt and change to the load.
The load needs to be a balance between working “a bit harder” than you are comfortable for the body to have a reason to adapt and less than an amount that would cause injury.
This is a fine balance that we aim to achieve during your sessions. Less than 2 sessions a week is just enough to maintain strength gains achieved previously but are really not enough to improve muscle strength, or at least, it will occur very slowly.
The ideal is three times a week, with a day in between sessions.
Overtraining is just as bad, so training everyday is not a good idea. When you overtrain, you do not give the muscles a chance to adapt and grow.
Muscle growth occurs when you rest, not when you exercise, so the balance of load and rest is very important for long term change. If you exercise between strength sessions, it needs to be a different type of exercise, such as cardio training, and ideally a lighter form of training.
Further scientific evidence why 2-3 sessions a week is best
The American College of Sports Medicine, continues to recommend with strong scientific evidence
• Strength training twice a week, involving most of the major muscle groups ( of moderate to high intensity)
Two structured and focused strengthening sessions a week (30 minutes each), focusing on all the major muscle groups in the body, are enough to strengthen your body and benefit from a better life.
The great news is that these adaptive effects are beneficial at any age. Although the effects are slower after the 7th decade of life (after the age of 60), the effects of training strongly outweigh the decline due to age.
Other specific scientific evidence includes:
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 49 studies found that performing strength training exercises two times per week was sufficient to increase muscle size and strength in both young and older adults (Peterson et al., 2010).
Another meta-analysis of 22 studies showed that performing strength training exercises two to three times per week led to significant increases in muscle mass, strength, and power in healthy adults (Grgic et al., 2018).
A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that performing strength training exercises two times per week for 16 weeks led to significant increases in muscle size and strength in both men and women (Ozaki et al., 2013).
A review of 21 studies found that performing strength training exercises two to three times per week led to significant improvements in muscle strength and physical function in older adults (Liu and Latham, 2009).
Overall, these studies suggest that performing strength training exercises at least two times per week can promote muscle growth and improve strength in a variety of populations, including young and older adults. However, it’s worth noting that individual responses to exercise can vary, and some people may require more or less frequent training to achieve their goals.
Do you have any questions?
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*Please note only the Full Body Assessment is a FREE service. The Full Body Assessment is for new clients at MD Health or returning clients who haven’t been in for 6 months or longer who intend to particpiate in our 13 Week Clinical Pilates Program**.
For all new clients who wish to come in for a one-off, casual or adhoc basis for Physiotherapy or Exercise Physiology the Initial Physiotherapy or Initial Exercise Physiology appointment is a paid service.
** The 13 Week Clinical Pilates Program at MD Health is not a lock in contract and you are not required to attend for the full 13 weeks if you do not wish.