Pilates is truly a smart functional form of exercise. It can be summed up in three words: strength, stretch, and control. These three words are a great way to describe the incredibly challenging, fully engaging, and empowering work that is the Pilates Method.
We repeat very simple movements that don’t look like much but have intense effects on the body. While we increase our strength we also work on improving our flexibility. Once we have some strength and flexibility, then it is time to introduce the aspect of controlling one's body. Control is the most important because it connects the mind to the body. We need all three to execute the exercises correctly.
Strength, flexibility, and control are just some of the benefits of Pilates. The work will challenge your mind and body and leave you feeling ENERGIZED and ALIVE!
The duration and frequency of your Pilates workouts can have a significant effect on your fitness goals. While a full Pilates workout takes about 45 minutes, not everyone may have the luxury to take this much time to exercise.
If you have less time, you may wonder if it’s even worth it to take a shorter Pilates class. That’s why I’m dedicating this post to talking about whether or not a partial Pilates workout is effective.
Is 20 Minutes of Pilates a Day Enough
20 minutes a day of Pilates is absolutely effective. It reduces stress, increases your energy, improves your mood, and is great for brain health.
Pilates is such a focused and intentional exercise that you can get a lot of results from just a 20-minute Pilates session. Being consistent is the key to lasting results that strengthen both your body and mind!
A 20-minute Pilates routine may be a little different from a 45-minute Pilates class, but they are both beneficial. To get the maximum benefit from a shorter Pilates class, you may do more intense movements or focus on just one area of the body. Whatever your fitness goals are, you can customize a Pilates routine that fits the time you have available.
How Long Should a Pilates Workout Be
To improve flexibility.
Whether your goal is to do the splits or just to be able to touch your toes, Pilates can help you improve your flexibility. To reach this fitness goal with shorter Pilates classes, look for ones that incorporate lengthening movements. Really focus on your stretching before, during, and after class. If flexibility is your main goal, shorter Pilates classes can help you reach it and are easy enough to add to your schedule.
To lose weight.
As with any exercise routine, Pilates can help you lose weight by burning calories. However, there is a lot more that goes into weight loss than any one fitness class can achieve. If your goal in pursuit of losing weight is to be more active, Pilates classes of any length can help you get there. Plus, Pilates is a great low-impact exercise. In the long term, Pilates can help you work up to more high-intensity workouts.
To increase core strength.
Pilates is a great form of exercise to increase core strength. That’s because every movement is powered by the center, or the powerhouse. Your core muscles provide stability and strength for every Pilates move. This means even if you do an upper body focused workout, your core is still getting engaged!
To reduce stress.
One of the benefits of Pilates is that it can reduce stress by lowering the levels of cortisol in the body. The great news is that this can be accomplished with just 20 minutes of exercise! While you may not get the same level of endorphins as you would from a runner’s high, a low-impact, shorter workout may actually be more beneficial.
Practicing Pilates for just 20 minutes a day, especially when you do it consistently, can have a huge positive impact on your mental health!
To relieve aches and pains.
If you’re dealing with nagging lower back pain or knee pain, a regular Pilates practice can certainly help you relieve these. A Pilates workout for pain relief is likely to be shorter in duration than a full-body Pilates class. These shorter classes will help you build functional strength without worsening any soreness.
To reach the next Pilates level.
Your fitness goal might be as simple as improving your Pilates skills! Whether you want to try to go from beginner to intermediate, perform a more advanced move, or learn a new Pilates machine, this is a great goal. When choosing your Pilates class to support this goal, look for ones that lead up to your goal. Many Pilates series’ will train the skills necessary to accomplish a more complex move.
If you want to try a more advanced class, a shorter Pilates workout can help you try it out without committing to a full 45-minute session.
To tone your muscles.
To see real changes in the appearance of your muscles, you’ll have to put in the time. Taking longer duration Pilates classes may speed up the benefits, but you can still lengthen and tone your muscles with a 20-minute Pilates class.
Whatever Pilates workout you choose to do, know that it takes time and consistency to see a visible benefit. In the meantime, focus on less visible benefits, like how you feel and how strong your muscles are in your everyday life.
How to Maximize Your 20-Minute Pilates Workouts
Work different muscle groups each time.
It’s important that your workouts are balanced throughout the week to make sure you’re working all of your muscles. Balanced strength training is an incredibly important component of a classical Pilates class.
When taking shorter classes, you can focus on one or two muscle groups per class. This will intensify the effort in that particular area, giving you a more challenging workout. However, be sure you’re not overtraining one area over another. Look for Pilates classes that work different parts of your body and spread them out over the week.
Incorporate cardio Pilates classes.
Pilates has grown so much that many different varieties of Pilates classes are available to you! While a 20-minute Pilates class may not have the full heart-pumping effects of a 45-minute classical Pilates mat session, there are still ways to get your blood going. Try a Pilates class that incorporates cardio elements. Our Tempo series of virtual Pilates classes incorporates Pilates moves in a more cardio focused workout.
Take time to warm up beforehand.
One of the differences between a 20-minute and 45-minute Pilates class is that the 45-minute session has more time for your body to warm up. If you only have 20 minutes to get in a Pilates workout, take an extra 5 or 10 minutes beforehand to stretch.
Schedule your workouts in advance.
20 minutes of Pilates a day is most effective when you do it consistently. To stick to a consistent Pilates exercise routine, plan ahead! Whether you’re taking classes at a Pilates and yoga studio that you need to book in advance, or if you’re just doing home workouts, planning is the key to success.
Block out time on your calendar to dedicate to your Pilates session. That way, when the time comes, you don’t have to choose at the moment whether you’ll practice Pilates or not. Your past self has already decided for you!
Pick dynamic Pilates moves.
There are a variety of Pilates movements you can choose from to make up your 20-minute Pilates routine. Look for more advanced and dynamic movements that get your full body involved. These kinds of moves will intensify your workout and work more of your body in a shorter amount of time.
Be present during the workout.
It’s not enough to just show up to your Pilates class and go through the movements. Especially if you’re doing a partial Pilates class, you need to make every minute count. Leave all your worries and stresses at the door before you start your exercise. In the Pilates class, be present and really concentrate on your form.
Focus on the mind-body connection.
Control is the true essence of Pilates because it makes you use your mind. The art of control of the mind over the body is what makes the Pilates Method unique and so effective. To get the most out of your shorter Pilates exercises, really focus on the mind-body connection. This will help you get the most physical and mental benefits from the workout.
Take breaks and switch things up.
While getting exercise every day is an admirable goal, your body also needs rest! Doing the same 20-minute Pilates routine every day might cause you to plateau in your fitness goals and can lead to overexertion.
Especially if you’re incorporating other forms of exercise into your fitness routine, it’s okay to take breaks from your daily Pilates practice. Even just 4 to 5 times a week is enough to get the benefits of Pilates.
With consistency and variety, 20 minutes of Pilates a day will help you reach your fitness goals.
Pilates is a wonderful and dynamic form of exercise that can be customized to help you reach whatever fitness goals you have! From a full 45-minute classic Pilates mat class to short cardio Pilates classes, there’s something for everyone.
You can absolutely still benefit from Pilates by just working out 20 minutes a day. When you show up to your Pilates class, show up fully and flow through each movement with intention and precision. Committing to the practice will help you reap the full benefits, and you owe it to yourself to be fully present for those 20 minutes out of your day.
As always, you can learn everything you could want to know about Pilates here on our blog. For more virtual Pilates classes head to the Youtube channel, or visit our Instagram for more practical Pilates tips.