Ageing, unfortunately, starts younger than we realise. Did you know that from the age of 30 our muscles break down UNLESS we do something about it. Worse still, usually that muscle is replaced by fat!

It’s a sad fact that if you don’t use it, you lose it! Maintaining your muscle mass, or in some cases, rebuilding your muscle mass, is vital for many reasons:

  1. Muscles store carbohydrates for energy to be used by those muscles, and thus reduce the amount stored as fat.
  2. Muscles burn energy and keep your metabolism active, even at rest.
  3. Muscles are needed to preserve “tone” in the body and stop skin from sagging.
  4. Without strong muscles the ageing process is accelerated and you can become weaker and frail.
  5. Strong muscles protect and strengthen your joints and help prevent excess wear and tear on your joints.
  6. Weight training and resistance exercise helps to prevent osteoporosis and fractures.
  7. Strength training helps prevent Type 2 Diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and the body’s use of glucose.

How do you build and strengthen muscles?

Building muscle doesn’t require you to spend hours in the gym or even lifting heavy weights. In order to build or maintain your muscle mass, you need to challenge your muscles and put the muscles under strain! You can do this using your own body weight, using hand weights, the Pilates Ring or the resistance band.

For strength training using hand weights, you want to lift a heavy weight, not so heavy that you can’t keep your form, but you want the weight to be heavy enough that  you can’t do more than 6-12 reps. Once you can do 12 reps with that weight, with perfect form, try going super slowly. The slower you go the harder it is. Once you can do 12 super slowly, it’s time to up your weight.

For strength training using your own body weight, go super slowly, with correct form and you should find that your muscles start to shake. For example, start with the Pilates tricep push up or chest push up, try doing 6 super super slowly. Repeat x3 sets. Once you can do 6 perfectly and slowly, try taking your knees further away, then finally until your legs are straight and knees are off the flow.

There are so many exercises I include in all of my classes and also the classes on the Membership that will help you to strengthen your muscles, such as planks, side plank, tricep push-ups, chest push-ups, squats, bridge or wheel pose, one leg squats, curl-ups, resistant band work, Pilates with weights etc. etc.

How much strength work should you do?

The absolute minimum is 2 x per week, for around 15-20 minutes and working every muscle, but ideally 3-5 sessions per week is recommended. As most of my clients are extremely busy, I developed my method of teaching moves that are super time efficient and effective; meaning that we work as many muscles as we can to maximise the time and effectiveness of each move. It is important to move with good posture and core support, and good alignment of your joints, so that you strengthen your body in the right way (i.e. using your Pilates training). I also add levels so that as you get stronger you can keep challenging your muscles to avoid plateauing.

What videos can you do on the Membership to help you build strength?

Any moves within the videos that really challenge your muscles will build strength, there are so many on the Membership.

Here are some examples of some Pilates videos with the main focus of helping you to build strength:

Power Pilates Blast – 10 minutes, advanced, upper body and core.  

Upper Body Strengthening with Hand Weights – 16 minutes, all levels.

Dynamic Pilates with Hand Weights – 20 minutes, all levels, whole body.

Power Pilates Full Body Workout – 30 minutes, intermediate to advanced.

Pilates Butt Blast – 15 minutes, all levels, glutes focus.

Shape Up Series

Tutorial: Chest Push-Up

Here are examples of some Yoga videos with the main focus of helping you to build strength:

Tricep Push-up/ Chaturanga Technique – 5 minutes, all levels.

Upper Body Strength Workout – 10 minutes, intermediate.

Improving Your Balance – 20 minutes, all levels, leg strength.

Wrist Exercises  – 13 minutes, all levels.

Standing Strong in Balance – 10 minutes, all levels, leg strength.

Plus of course the Core Series which will strengthen your core and abdominals and the Shape Up Series which tends to focus on whole body strength. endurance and tone.

I am here to support you as much as I can, so please do get in contact if you have any questions or need something on the Membership that’s not there.