Pilates Strong!

by | Aug 19, 2022 | Articles, Pilates for Menopause

Build Muscle with Pilates

There are perceptions that Pilates is gentle exercise but Pilates can also be as hard as you want it to be! (Read more about Pilates for Muscle Strengthening) Many of the moves in Pilates utilise bodyweight for resistance and I incorporate small equipment such as hand weights and resistance bands to really work your muscles. Doing Pilates you can enjoy a workout that really ‘hits the spot ‘when it comes to strength training but it is also safe and accessible to all levels of fitness. Sign up now and find out for yourself. If you need more evidence read on!

I’m Active why Should I Bother about Strengthening?

One of the most striking effects of ageing is the involuntary loss of muscle mass termed sarcopenia. Muscle mass decreases approximately 3–8% per decade after the age of 30 and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. Now what you might not know is that muscle is predominantly made up of 2 different types of fibres:

  • Type I muscle fibres or ‘slow twitch’ muscle fibres will contract more slowly, with less force, but can work over a longer period of time. These fibres are fatigue resistant; they are your ‘marathon’ muscle fibres.
  • Type II muscle fibres or ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres are bigger and can produce more force but they will tire more quickly. These fibres work over a shorter time period; usually during activities such as hopping, sprinting, jumping.

Ageing Affects Muscle. Like it or Not!

Non-athletes usually have a 50:50 balance between the two types of muscle fibre; slow twitch (Type 1) and Fast Twitch (Type 2). As we age the normal balance shifts towards a higher proportion of Slow twitch Type I muscle fibres. This phenomenon goes a long way to explain why our reaction speeds are reduced and our ability to ‘hop, skip and jump’ declines with age.

Does this really matter? Well it can do, what if you trip and need to react quickly or make a sudden change of direction to avoid an obstacle? Not only that the Type I fibres are less able to generate force. So an increased proportion of these Type I fibres results in an overall reduction in muscle strength. Try getting up from the floor, tackling a deep step without using the hand rail, or dodge your dog careering towards you.

All is not lost…Muscle is Clever!

One of the impressive features of skeletal muscle is its plasticity. Plasticity is his ability to ‘adapt to imposed demands’ and this capacity for change continues throughout our lifespan. There are numerous studies that demonstrate the ‘trainability’ of skeletal muscle. Better still that we can make improvements even in older age. For example, adults between 60 and 80 years of age can experience, with appropriate training, 20% to 30% increase in aerobic fitness, similar to what people far younger achieve. The improvements come from central cardiovascular as well as peripheral muscle adaptations. Source

The introduction of strength training increases both types of muscle fibres with the potential for a greater increase in the larger tension producing type II muscle fibres. This can then begin to restore the normal balance between the type I and Type I muscle fibres.

If you are curious how your muscles are doing and you are looking for help join me for a movement MOT Online

How can I Build Muscle? With Pilates of Course!

So to the nitty gritty. What is the best approach to approach strength training safely in midlife and beyond? There are many variables that can be manipulated to produce training effects. High intensity training is all the rage; it means lifting heavy weights for a lower number of repetitions. This approach is well suited to athletes but what about us ordinary folk? There is evidence that increasing the volume of exercise could be better than increasing the intensity. That is doing more repetitions more often with less weight. This approach reduces the risk of injury and provides consistent positive effects on health and muscle strength. Source

This is why you will find my doing my best to incorporate bodyweight resistance,  hand weights and resistance bands  at every opportunity to really work your muscles. Doing Pilates you can enjoy a workout that really hits the spot when it comes to strength training but it is also safe and accessible to all levels of fitness.

Why not try this pilates video to whet your appetite, just remember your body is your business and please take care of you whatever you do!


What are you waiting for? Sign up now and try Pilates to feet fitter, stronger and healthier than ever before!

Read more about Pilates for Muscle Strengthening

Checkout this podcast as Chartered Physiotherapist Phillipa Butler spills the beans. What is fitness, Is it ever too late to get fit and top tips to make a start from today!  we go about it .Let’s build Muscle and Bone as we approachMenopause and beyond.

Phillipa Butler Chartered Physiotherapist, Pilates and Yoga teacher

Pilates for Menopause for Massage Therapists and Manual Therapists  - NAT Diploma Course with Precizion 10 CEUs

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Interested to learn Pilates or Yoga?

Join Precizion for regular online Pilates and Yoga classes.  All led by Phillipa Butler, a Chartered Physiotherapist, Clinical Pilates and Women’s Health Expert. One-on-one consultations also available.

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