Under the impression that Pilates, yoga and barre workouts are interchangeable? Think again! These popular workout methods may share similarities, but they’re all uniquely designed to help address specific goals. We’re shedding some light on all three styles to help you choose the best option for you.
- Focuses on core strength.
- Supports pelvic floor and postural muscles.
- Ideal for improving posture while increasing strength and flexibility.
Pilates is known for its core-centric movements, which makes this method a solid choice for anyone who wants to strengthen their abdominal muscles. But Pilates can also improve your posture and strengthen your pelvic floor by working your body’s entire “powerhouse,” which includes the midsection, hips and lower back.
This non-aerobic method targets small and large muscle groups alike for a comprehensive full-body workout. While some classes incorporate machines and equipment like Pilates balls and Magic Circle rings, others rely more on body-weight exercises and mat routines.
Much like yoga, Pilates includes sustained poses and controlled breathing techniques. But while yoga uses deep breathing to restore balance in a more meditative sense, Pilates encourages deep belly breathing to enhance muscular performance.
- Focuses on the connection between mind and body via movement, breathing techniques, and meditation.
- Boosts strength and improves flexibility while some styles may also support weight loss.
- Offers extra versatility thanks to its various styles (like hatha and vinyasa).
- Ideal for those looking for a more meditative workout.
Dating back thousands of years, yoga is the oldest of the three methods. Its emphasis on fluid movement and controlled breathing makes it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to improve their physical health while simultaneously managing stress.
While therapeutic in nature, yoga offers more than just relaxation, mindfulness and flexibility. Its full-body approach encourages proper alignment and helps improve your overall balance with a mix of standing poses and mat routines. As a result, you learn to listen to your body and pay more attention to your breathing which results in a stronger mind body connection and awareness.
If you’re an exercise newbie, yoga is a particularly good place to start. Many styles offer slower movements, which could mean less risk of injury — an important consideration for beginners.
- Combines elements from both Pilates and yoga.
- Ideal for sculpting long, lean muscle mass with an emphasis on the legs and seat area.
- Unlike Pilates and yoga, barre includes aerobic exercise for additional cardiovascular and weight-loss benefits.
Can’t decide between yoga and Pilates? With barre classes, you don’t have to. Barre utilizes the graceful dance movements of ballet coupled with Pilates and yoga principles for an all-in-one approach to your fitness routine.
While barre tends to focus on the lower body by targeting your glutes, quads and hamstrings, it also strengthens and lengthens muscles all over to help you sculpt that sought-after dancer’s physique. Plus, it incorporates calorie-torching cardio for the best of both worlds.
With barre, you’ll enjoy a mix of mat routines, standing exercises and positions like pliés, elevés, and relevés to help elevate your workout and maximize your results.
Which Fitness Routine is Right for You?
Ultimately, the method you choose will largely depend on your specific goals and preferences. That being said, we like to think of Pilates, yoga, and barre as different but complementary styles that work together to help you look and feel your best.
In fact, rotating between all three practices can help take your routine to the next level. Similar to how running and barre are symbiotic, the core work you do in Pilates class can help improve your balance in yoga, while the flexibility you acquire from yoga can complement the strengthening exercises at the barre. If you are looking for a class that will offer the most inclusive benefits, then you’ll want to try barre. Because barre lifts elements from both Pilates and yoga maximizing the effectiveness of the movement in your body, you will achieve both inner and outer strength. And while there are several barre brands to choose from, The Bar Method is truly unique in that the technique was developed in partnership with physical therapists to ensure student safety. In fact, still to this day, every exercise is approved by a team of physical therapists before it is released to the studios.
Read next: A Beginner’s Guide to Barre
As the saying goes, you won’t know until you try! Find a studio and follow them on Instagram or Facebook. You’ll learn quickly that The Bar Method community is inviting, motivating, and encouraging! Reach out to a studio and try a class today!