Is Pilates good for weight loss?

group of women doing pilates

by Bryony Firth-bernard |

Pilates is a low impact exercise that’s great for improving mobility, flexibility and strengthening your muscles, which in turn helps lead to improved posture and helps prevent injuries. But is pilates good for weight loss?

“Pilates is known for its ability to improve body strength, endurance and flexibility, and like all other exercise it can also aid weight loss if practised two to three times per week,” says Roger Mallett, a pilates instructor and tutor at TRAINFitness. This must be accompanied with a nutritious and calorie-controlled diet that allows the individual to create an effective calorie deficit.”

Related: The best Pilates accessories for your fitness journey

How many calories can you burn doing Pilates?

According to Roger, taking part in an hour pilates class can see you can burn up to 200 to 250 calories (that’s the equivalent of a Cadbury’s Boost bar). However, this does depend on your current body weight and the type of pilates you’re doing, for example if it’s mat work pilates (where the moves are performed on a mat), or reformer pilates (where the moves are performed using a pilates reformer machine, and is more intense).

“Studies have suggested that Reformer classes can burn slightly more calories due to the extra load of springs which have different degrees of strength and resistance that help control the machine,” says Roger. “The amount of weight loss to achieve by regular attendance is therefore very subjective. Pilates does improve posture, lengthen and define muscles, which in turn can give the impression of weight loss, however, lean muscle mass does in fact burn more calories as a whole.”

Which type of pilates is best for losing weight?

As Roger previously mentions, reformer Pilates is often seen as a more effective when it comes to burning calories, therefore aiding weightloss, however he points out that doesn’t mean mat work pilates should be dismissed.

“A mat work pilates session can be just as challenging using just body weight – it really comes down to challenge and degree of skill required for each exercise. It also needs to be noted that large muscle groups will require more energy, so a simple leg circle will not burn as many calories as a push up or side bend and twist.

What are the best pilates moves for weight loss?

Below are Rogers top 10 pilates moves to help boost your metabolism and aid weight loss:

Pilates Push Up

Good for: strengthening upper body, triceps, back and chest

Leg Pull Front

Good for: strengthening the glues, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, arms

Leg Pull Back

Good for: Strengthening hamstrings, glutes and back

The Saw

Good for: strengthening spine muscles and stretching out the hamstrings and hips

The Hundred

Good for: warming up lungs and core muscles

Short and long spine on the reformer machine

Good for: stretches hamstrings, works glutes, core, abbductors and improve spinal alignment

Side bend and Twist

Good for: improving range of motion in upper body, spine and strengthening core

Snake on reformer machine

Good for: arms, back, abdominals, side abdominals, legs…basically everything!

Shoulder bridge

Good for: mobilising the spine, as well as strengthening, glutes, hamstrings, abdominal muscles and back

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us