What Is Aerobic Pilates?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 18 February 2020
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Aerobic Pilates combines traditional aerobic workouts with Pilates, a form of exercise designed to strengthen the muscles, increase flexibility, and develop control. This exercise technique is not simply Pilates performed at a rapid pace; the exercises are modified to increase the intensity of the exercises. The workout provides the benefits of both cardiovascular exercise and Pilates.

Cardio Pilates routines can be done on the mat, or modified to work on the Reformer, a machine used for many Pilates moves. Like traditional Pilates moves, cardio Pilates involves the whole body, and is a low impact exercise. Also like traditional Pilates, the aerobic version focuses on breathing, control, centering the body, concentration, rhythm, and relaxation. It is important to maintain the principles of Pilates throughout the workout, both to prevent injury and to ensure balanced muscle development.

Any type of exercise that elevates the heart rate by working the large muscle groups is considered aerobic. The exercise must also be rhythmic, and should be maintained continuously for the duration of the workout period. Aerobic Pilates can include traditional Pilates moves like the "hundreds," as well as specific moves created for aerobic Pilates. One example of the specific exercises developed for aerobic Pilates is modified running, where the individual lies on the jump board of the Reformer, and simulates the motion of running. When performing aerobic Pilates moves, it is important that concentration on form and precision is not lost while increasing intensity.


Moderate intensity exercise refers to physical exertion that makes the participant break a sweat, yet still be able to talk, with effort, throughout the workout. A few hours of this sort of exercise every week are suggested by most health authorities, for healthy adults. The exercise can be completed in increments as short as ten minutes. Aerobic Pilates would fit the criteria for moderate intensity, using feelings during exercise as a guide.

The benefits of performing aerobic Pilates include the numerous benefits of cardiovascular exercise, including a stronger heart and lungs, reduction in stress, an increase in energy, and a higher metabolism. In addition, the Pilates component improves balance, builds coordination, and strengthens the core. Overall, cardio based Pilates makes an excellent addition to an existing exercise program, as well as serving as the basis for a new workout plan. When starting an aerobic Pilates program, spend time perfecting form before worrying about repetitions or intensity. Always speak with a healthcare provider before beginning a new workout.


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