Ok, I know this title will cause most people who do pilates to take exception because pilates in itself is strength training. However many of those who have never tried it have preconceived notions on exactly what pilates is. When asked, many will say that it is mostly about stretching and building only abdominal strength. Well yes, it is those are common objectives during pilates workouts, however when done correctly pilates should be a total body workout focusing on muscular strength as a whole. It can be as aggressive and challenging as the fitness level of the participant will allow. This being said, pilates can also be very rehabilitative. Just as in any fitness program, the workout is dictated by goals and ability.
What is unfortunate about traditional strength training vs. pilates is that most people do either/or and the two are usually not done in the same month, week, or day. If you have researched the best ways to stay fit, chances are you have learned that diversifying your workouts are the key to being the most fit as well as the way to avoid injury. There is no reason why pilates cannot be incorporated into any strength training program. The problem with this idea is that gyms and trainers usually have them in separate areas and most instructors are not trained to do both. If this is the case in your gym, I would highly recommend alternating pilates workouts with workouts done in a traditional gym setting.
Although both forms of training are effective workouts, the focus for each is different and the two complement each other well. Many pilates exercises challenge the abdominal region somewhat more than traditional strength training exercises and take you through larger movements. When you are feeling tight from a possible heavy strength training day, the larger ranges of motion done in pilates can give you that needed stretch. It is important to note however, that just because you are stretching it doesn’t mean you aren’t having a tough muscular workout. It just means that the larger ranges of motion complement possible compromises made in range of motion when doing a heavier strength training workout.
In an ideal situation, pilates and weight training can be included in the same workout. If you have the ability to work with an instructor who is trained in both then going in between the two can not only be a tough workout, but the diversity will result in a very well rounded program. The way that the programs are tied in together can vary every workout according to what your body needs. In other words workouts can simply be divided or you can switch from one modality to the other throughout the workout. This approach is what will keep you the most fit as well as keeping you from becoming injured.