Do You Need a Recovery Period After Pilates?

Recovery is not always necessary after a Pilates workout.

Recovery is not always necessary after a Pilates workout.

When you exercise often, it’s important to leave enough time between workouts to allow your muscles to recover. This is especially necessary when strength training. Lifting weights, for instance, causes tiny tears in the muscle fibers, which need to heal before each training session. However, Pilates is a form of resistance training that does not require the same type of recovery period. Still, that doesn’t mean you should do workouts like The Hundred day after day.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is named after its developer, Joseph Pilates, who created this set of exercises in the 1920s to tone and strengthen the core muscles. The core includes the abdominals, back, hips and glutes. He called this area the “powerhouse,” according to Gaiam Life, because these muscles are what provide the strength to do all sorts of activities. These can range from kicking the door closed when your hands are full to sitting up straight at your desk. Pilates is performed on a mat and a machine called a reformer. Both offer resistance training, with the latter offering greater resistance with pulleys.

Workout Frequency

It is possible to perform Pilates on a daily basis, with no recovery period. However, Joseph Pilates recommends that his students not perform the same exercise two days in a row. This is a form of active recovery that encourages continued muscle development without putting too much stress on them. According to Ana Caban in a Gaiam Life interview, performing Pilates daily can help to establish it as a routine help speed up benefits. Just 10 minutes a day is all you need to start.

Circuit Training

Working in circuit training will further mix up your Pilates workout and allow for adequate muscle recovery. According to the IDEA Health & Fitness Association, Pilates circuits can be performed in a number of ways. The one thing that remains the same is that each circuit exercise should alternate between muscle groups. Much of the time, these circuits are performed using a reformer and emphasis is placed on performing each exercise and movement correctly, rather than completing a lot of repetitions. It's quality over quantity, all the way.


How often you perform Pilates workouts and whether you need a recovery period willl depends on your fitness level. If you spend all day on the couch, you may need a day to recover between each workout. If you are already in good shape, you may be able to perform Pilates, focusing on different muscles, every day. You may also perform an intense workout one day and a moderate or easy one the next, which will provide your muscles with time to repair themselves. Before you begin any new exercise program, including Pilates, see your physician to ensure you are in good enough health to embark on this new fitness endeavor.

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About the Author

Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.

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