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After years of weight training I am considering switching to Pilates due to injuries. I am interested in hearing from people who use Pilates as their MAIN work out. Can you build/maintain muscle? Does it give you a cardio workout or must you do cardio in addition to Pilates? Any first hand experience would be appreciated, especially if you have used Pilates after a back injury. Thanks.

Tue. Nov 14, 7:46pm

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I have taken Pilates mat classes and private Pilates lessons, though I would not consider them my main workout at all.

I never get a cardio workout from Pilates - I wear a heartrate monitor and it rarely goes above 100 bpm. My gym does have a class they call "Fat-burning Pilates", and while it is distinctly Pilates-based, the purists out there would lose their minds.

I took privates to deal with a physical problem I was having - the source was my femur/hip joint and the symptom was foot pain. After seven lessons where we focused on that for about half of the hour, my foot became fully functional and 90% of the pain went away. I do, however, need to get back to it every now and then to maintain this. I guess you could say I use Pilates privates as physical therapy, which I believe is how it was developed in the first place.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 8:01 PM

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I love Pilates. The good it really improves flexibility and is great for toning muscles. I cannot get a burn in my abs from anything (including weights) like I can from my Pilates DVD. With that said it does not raise your heartrate, because it doesn't raise your heartrate it doesn't burn a lot of calories. I really love the way my body looks when I do Pilates regularly but since I'm trying to lose weight at this time I don't do it as often as I'd like because for the time I have a feel I have to choose cardio or Pilates. My tummy may have a little more pouch without the Pilates but I know once I reach my goal weight I can focus hard on the Pilates and get rid of that while maintaining my weight, but to focus hard on the Pilates and loose weight just doesn't seem to go together for me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 9:32 PM

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According to the activity calculator on, a 180-lb person burns 255 calories an hour doing Pilates - which is the same # as moderate weight lifting. So it's not really an all-in-one form of exercise.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 9:58 PM

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OP Here..Thanks for all your coments, esp 10:58. I wear a heart monitor while working out and typically burn just over 400 calories in one hour of cardio and weight training. So far it seems that Pilates would be a great addition to a workout regimen but not meant (at least for my goals) to replace the gym.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006, 6:15 AM

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I use Pilates in addition to cardio classes. I've never worn a HR monitor during it though, I will have to try and see. It also helps with balance and posture.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006, 9:53 AM

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