Does 10 Minute Pilates Work?
As a series of exercises that lengthen and stretch your body’s muscles, Pilates often involves extensive routines lasting 30 to 60 minutes, but you can perform Pilates programs in as little as 10 minutes and still achieve an effective workout. Ten-minute Pilates routines help people of various fitness skill levels achieve many different goals, but only you can determine whether these brief workout sessions will be effective in helping you meet your personal exercise objectives.
Targeted Muscle Toning
Ten-minute Pilates shines in the realm of targeted muscle toning, since it provides enough time for an intense workout of a specific group of your body’s muscles. Whether you want to target and tone your upper body, your abs and buns, or your thighs and calves, these brief Pilates regimens allow you to perform a specific set of moves to strengthen the muscles in that region of your body. Create your own 10-minute targeted Pilates routine or follow one put together by a Pilates instructor, depending upon your fitness goals and Pilates experience level. Maximize the effectiveness of your Pilates routine by performing no more than 10 moves in a 10-minute workout, spending at least one minute on each move.
Ten-minute Pilates enhances muscle tone, which can help you shed pounds by increasing the rate your body burns calories. But if you’re looking to lose a lot of weight, 10-minute Pilates will most likely disappoint you, unless you pair this quick-burst form of exercise with a fat-burning cardiovascular activity. Possible cardiovascular workouts include jogging, walking, swimming and biking. Expect to engage in minimally two hours of cardiovascular exercise each week -- in addition to your Pilates routine -- to shed pounds and minimize your chances of regaining them, says Denise Austin, author of “Pilates for Every Body.”
Preventing Back Pain
Improper spinal alignment arising from pregnancy or bad sitting posture often causes back pain that 10-minute Pilates can prevent, says Austin. A 10-minute Pilates session targeted to prevent or soothe back problems typically concentrates on strengthening the abdominal and back muscles that support your spine. Possible exercises that help accomplish this goal include the Pilates ab curl and the Pilates bridge, as well as stretches that enhance back health by promoting spinal movement and flexibility, such as the spine twist and the back stretch.
The slow, rhythmic movements and controlled breathing that constitute a core part of Pilates exercise technique help make 10-minute Pilates a prime form of exercise to aid in relieving tension. A 10-minute Pilates routine aimed to relieve stress and promote relaxation typically includes an assortment of stretches, such as the spine stretch and the child’s pose, which lengthen and relax muscles throughout your body. Help make your short Pilates sessions even more effective at busting stress by turning on relaxing music or burning calming aromatherapy oil, recommends Alan Herdman, co-author of “Coffee Break Pilates.”
All Pilates moves start with your powerhouse -- the abdominal and back muscles that make up the core of your body -- so your body gets an intense abdominal workout no matter what 10-minute Pilates workout session you choose. Ensure that you’re engaging these muscles by focusing on your abdomen at the beginning of each Pilates move, tucking the muscles inward in an effort to bring your bellybutton as close as possible to your backbone.
- Pilates for Every Body; Denise Austin
- Coffee Break Pilates; Alan Herdman and Jo Godfrey Wood
- Kloubec JA. Pilates for improvement of muscle endurance, flexibility, balance, and posture. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(3):661-7. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c277a6
- Geremia JM, Iskiewicz MM, Marschner RA, Lehnen TE, Lehnen AM. Effect of a physical training program using the Pilates method on flexibility in elderly subjects. Age (Dordr). 2015;37(6):119. doi:10.1007/s11357-015-9856-z
- Lin HT, Hung WC, Hung JL, Wu PS, Liaw LJ, Chang JH. Effects of pilates on patients with chronic non-specific low back pain: a systematic review. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016;28(10):2961-2969. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.2961
Andrea Boldt has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.