What Is Pilates Boot Camp?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Pilates boot camp is a type of class that incorporates traditional Pilates strength-training moves with a rigorous pace and emphasis on pushing physical boundaries. A far cry from more traditional Pilates courses, Pilates boot camp may be taught in a single class, or may be a weeks-long course that comprises dozens of vigorous workouts. While this type of training can be fun and may help exercisers achieve good results, it needs to be attempted with caution, as exhaustion and dehydration can occur.

Boot camp Pilates is often taught in a gym or dance studio setting.
Boot camp Pilates is often taught in a gym or dance studio setting.

A traditional Pilates class often involves a half-hour or hour long session of weight-bearing strength moves at a relatively slow pace. The aim of traditional classes is to help students improve core strength and flexibility over time, while providing a good workout in a peaceful environment. Boot camp-style classes are extremely different, and often provide good cardiovascular exercise along with traditional Pilates positions. The emphasis on the class is on exertion and maximum effort, meaning that the environment is generally much more high-energy.

Teachers tend to have individual styles, so Pilates boot camp classes can vary immensely from studio to studio. The basic formula of a Pilates boot camp class involves a warm-up stretching session, followed by a long segment of fast-paced, intermediate or advanced Pilates moves. Many classes use the Pilates reformer, which is a large piece of exercise equipment in which weights and positions can be shifted to help users accomplish specific positions and exercises. Other equipment that may be incorporated may include balls, weights, foam blocks, and resistance bands. Classes usually conclude with a cool-down stretching series.

Boot camp Pilates is often taught in a gym or dance studio setting, but there are also many DVDs and online workout sites that offer this type of high-energy workout. DVD workouts tend to require less equipment and can be a good way to get started in the exciting world of intensive Pilates training. It may help to take a few basic Pilates courses before beginning solo workouts, to ensure that moves are being performed correctly.

Beginners to the world of Pilates boot camp need to consider whether their health and fitness level corresponds to this type of workout. During a class, it is important to pay attention to any signs of exhaustion, such as nausea or dizziness, and take breaks accordingly. Dehydration is also a concern during this type of workout; exercisers should be sure to drink water both before and after a boot camp workout is completed. Since it may be hard to maintain proper form during a fast-paced class, it may help to have some experience with Pilates before beginning a boot camp regimen.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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