Pilates is well known all over the world for being a moderate strength training program that will help you improve fitness and boost muscle strength without performing mindless routine exercises.
Strength training is rarely done on a daily basis. At least, the traditional mode involving weight lifting is carried out with frequent breaks in between. The exercises causes the muscles to over exert and a break of a few days helps the muscles relax before they are stretched again. This is why most experts do not advice hard strength training on a daily basis.
However, pilates abs or pilates mat exercises do not fall in the category of hard training. Rather, this fitness routine focuses on striking the right combination between the mind and the muscles to improve the strength of both these components of our body.
You may move your hands and feet in a very delicate and slow fashion. However, the sheer concentration with which you move and the precision that you try to achieve during the pilates abs or the pilates mat exercises causes your body to become fit.
Hence, the rule of not doing strength training daily does not apply to pilates. Most experts suggest and advice beginners to start at 2-3 times in a week. This is because the initial phase is when the body is completely unaccustomed to exercises, even moderate ones.
Hence, a slow start ensures that the individual does not tear a muscle or a ligament and lose belief in this wonderful fitness regime. That is the reason why any and every resource that caters to pilates for dummies and beginners will talk of a frequency of not more than 2-3 times in a week.
However, things change when you become an expert. Once you complete 15 to 20 sessions, you will start enjoying the benefits of this exercise regimen. Your body will be more flexible and relaxed and your mind will be very clear and very sharp throughout the day. You will feel energetic all the time.
There was a time when your body must have reacted very lazily to exercises. Once you get accustomed, your body will feel lazy and lethargic if you skip the regimen even once.
That is when you should consider doing pilates sessions more frequently. You would have outgrown the pilates for dummies advice. Once you reach this stage, you should start doing pilates as and when you want. Daily exercises may help you remain fresh and sharp throughout the day.
The good thing is that the nature of exercises continues to remain moderate. The emphasis will be on body mind integration and not on increasing the size of your muscles at all times.
However, there are certain precautions that you must keep in mind. Pilates places a lot of strain on the mind. You should not over exert yourself when you are ill. When you are pregnant or are convalescing from an illness, then you should make sure you do not push yourself too hard.
It is one thing to do the exercises daily because you have become good at it. However, it is a complete different thing to try doing these movements daily because you think that pilates is easy. It may look easy but it certainly is not easy. If you underestimate these exercises, then you are most likely end up with a strain in your elbow or your joints.
Hence, until you are sure that you are becoming an expert, do not over stretch yourself and do not cross the limit of more than four times in a week. Further, do not try to cram up by doing extra sessions on a single day just because you skipped the regimen for the past week or so.
A holistic approach will help you get the best results.
What about Joseph Pilates? In his book, "Return to Life through Contrology," Pilates writes:
If you will faithfully perform your Contrology [Pilates] exercises regularly only four times a week for just three months, you will find your body development approaching the ideal, accompanied by renewed mental vigor and spiritual enhancement.