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Soreness After Pilates

author image Roger Cahill
Roger Cahill has been a health and fitness professional since 2004. Cahill holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from Arizona State University. He also has excelled as a professional runner and was a former Sun Devil Student Athlete. Cahill has earned his American Council of Exercise personal training certification and has trained many professional athletes.
Soreness After Pilates
Pilates moves target small muscle groups causing soreness. Photo Credit Deklofenak/iStock/Getty Images

Pilates is a style of exercise that uses your body weight for resistance to target muscle groups. Pilates often leads to sore muscles because this type of training focuses on many muscles that you might not use regularly. Pilates consists of moves that target hard to reach muscles, at high repetitions, causing soreness.

Pilates Origin

The Pilates training method was created by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s. Pilates, an Englishman who immigrated to New York City, shared an address with the New York City Ballet. Pilates training was introduced to dancers to help keep their bodies limber and prepare them to dance. The Pilates techniques fused resistance, core strength and stabilization work.

Muscles Worked

Pilates is designed to originate movement from the core, which consists of your abdominals, back, glutes and hips. These muscle groups are the foundation of all movement during your training and are actively working. Exercises such as side leg lifts, the saw and criss-crosses all activate the major muscles in your lower body. Moves such as planks, bicycle twists and teasers target your abdominals and your upper body.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Delayed onset muscle soreness often occurs 24 to 48 hours of an exercise being performed. Sports Coach Brian Mac explains that delayed onset muscle soreness occurs during eccentric muscle movements. These types of movements occur when you lengthen your muscles. Pilates is created to lengthen and elongate the muscles of the body. During lengthening, tension is placed on the muscles and this causes an increase in intracellular pressure, which irritates the nerve endings and promotes muscle soreness.

What To Do

During your Pilates session, take note of which exercises in particular are causing soreness. Ask the instructor to observe your form. You may be going at it too hard or not making the small adjustments needed to protect your muscles from over-use. Ease back on the exercises making you ache until the soreness has abated. Soothe any soreness in a Epsom salt bath after class.

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