Updated: Apr 18
How long is a piece of string?
Unfortunately there is no one answer to this question!
The answer is personal to you and depends on a few different factors.
So what does the master say?
Joseph Pilates suggests in his book, Return to Life Through Contrology, that four times a week is the optimum number.
My opinion? I believe you don't need four and that results can absolutely be achieved by doing just one.
Now to find your answer...
This might seem like a strange one to ask first but I feel it's silly to start with other questions only to find out you are extremely busy and literally only have one hour a week free! You can of course only work with the time you have.
What are your time constraints? How much time during the week do you have to devote to your Pilates practice?
Time also refers to how long the classes/videos/sessions that you are looking at doing are and where they are. Distance may alter how much time you have to give over to the activity. For instance my face to face class is my longest session at 45 minutes and of course even if you live in Great Harwood there is still getting ready time, travel time and getting back in to the house time to think about so realistically it could be a hour or more that you need to allocate. Because of this you may feel you can only allow yourself the one session. All my live online 1-2-1 sessions and classes are 30 minutes, as are all my pre-recorded videos found via the Gold membership plan. Since there is no getting ready time (hello PJ Pilates!) and no travel time to think about, just the time it takes for you to fire up your device and log on, it is pretty much just the 30 minutes you need to allocate. You, therefore, may feel you have more available time slots throughout the week.
This a pretty big important question. Different goals will definitely require a different number of sessions. That said nothing is cast in stone and since we are all so different what works for one person my not work for another.
Are you taking Pilates on the advice of your health profession for your back? Is it a diagnosed condition or generic back pain? Are you taking it to improve your sport performance, to improve your running? Are you hoping to improve your overall strength and fitness?
In my experience reducing generic back pain, improving overall strength and fitness and even taking Pilates to complement your run training, can absolutely be done in one session a week. Using Pilates to help manage a specific back or health condition or improve your golf swing may need more, maybe up to three sessions a week.
However I have previously had clients take just one full hour session a week with me and seen an improvement in their back condition. Live online I have had similar results with two 30 minute sessions a week. These are of course tailored sessions not group classes which is another choice you will need to make and an entirely different blog post!
What is too much?
Pilates is, in my opinion, safe to do everyday.
It is often used, alongside yoga, as an active recovery session by fitness professionals and athletes alike. Active recovery being the day you aren't doing any intense fitness either cardio or weight training. It used to be known as 'rest' day but it is now widely accepted that complete rest isn't good for your body - think along the lines of the 'use it or lose it' mantra - therefore gentle exercise is now used to keep the body moving, muscles active and to prevent joints from seizing up.
So if you are hoping to improve your swimming, running round after grandkids fitness or your dancing the night away stamina then by all means go for it!
There is also sometimes a 'knack' to certain Pilates exercises or levels and once your body has gotten used to what you are doing the movement becomes easier. Therefore more frequent sessions might be more helpful, giving your muscles time to learn what it is you are trying to do.
For anyone with a health condition I always advise caution. Days off are needed to help you understand how it effects your condition and if certain exercises cause flare ups.
How many do you want to do?
In all the posts I have ever read about how many Pilates sessions you should be doing this question is never asked!
Quite simply how many sessions do you want to do?
I can say three is ideal but if you want to do more or less then that is, of course, your perogative. My recomendations are just that - suggestions - and you can chose to follow them or not. I promise to always try to make thing work regardless.
How did you answer the questions?
Still not sure?
It's confusing I know.
How about a FREE 15 minute consultation to help you work out what's right for you?
Book here and let's get started!
No pressure to buy from me let's have a chat, I'd love to help you regardless!