The answer depends on the results you are seeking. If your goal is to relieve back pain or reduce stress from the work week, one session a week is probably enough. But if your goal is to reform your body, so you can run a marathon injury-free or to get back your pre-baby body, then you’ll have to do Pilates more often.
In Joseph Pilates’ book Return to Life though Contrology, he stated … “In 10 sessions you will feel the difference. In 20 sessions you will see the difference. And in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body.” He goes on to say “If you will faithfully perform your Contrology exercises regularly only four times a week for just three months, you will find your body development approaching the ideal, accompanied by renewed mental vigor and spiritual enhancement.”
He recommends four times per week to get the maximum benefit in three months of exercising. But many of us just don’t have the time to commit to four classes per week.
The minimum to see any benefit is once per week. However to see significant improvement – the kind people notice and ask you what you have been doing – 2 to 3 times a week is necessary.
And there is another reason why you must do Pilates at least once a week – to keep from forgetting how to do it. Pilates has 500 different exercises, all requiring you to think not only about doing the move correctly, but also focusing on the breathing pattern, balance, muscle control and transition to the next exercise. Anything less than once a week and you’ll spend most of the session relearning the proper form.
In many ways Pilates is just like regular exercising in that you usually don’t want to work the same muscles every day. So that means that either you will want to spread your workouts over a whole week or do exercises that work different muscles if you are doing your sessions back to back. Muscles need time to repair and rejuvenate.
To keep from getting board, mix it up a little. For instance, you might do Pilates a couple times per week at home using either YouTube videos or off of a DVD. For your third session, go to a Pilates studio and take a class. Once in a while, if you can afford it, spring for a private one-on-one session with an instructor. In these sessions, not only can you learn new exercises, but also have an expert evaluate your exercise form to ensure you are doing the exercises correctly.
Pilates does not have to consume your life, but merely be an addition into it. Two to three times per week is all you need to start seeing positive improvements.