Barre vs. Pilates: Which Is Right For You?

barre versus pilates

We know you have a lot of workout options to choose from, so how do you know what’s best for you? We got you!

A question we hear a lot is, “How is Physique 57 different from Pilates?” It’s a great question because Physique 57 is a Pilates-based barre method, and the two workouts have some similarities. Both focus on controlled movements, strengthening your core, and sculpting lean muscles. But Physique 57 is a one-of-a-kind method that stands out from traditional Pilates and other forms of exercise. 

We’re breaking down what you can expect from both traditional Pilates and Physique 57, the benefits of each, and how Physique 57 will ultimately raise the barre on your results. 

What You Can Expect From Pilates

Pilates is a low-impact workout that focuses on slow, precise movements and breath control. This method, which was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany during World War 1, is designed to increase muscle tone and improve posture alignment and flexibility. 

Many Pilates moves target the core and trunk (think abs, back, hips), but classes also mix in moves for your arms and legs, making it a full-body workout. 

Classes are typically 45 minutes to 1 hour, and they can involve equipment but don’t need to. In mat Pilates, you’ll be working mostly from the floor on a yoga mat. Reformer Pilates is another variation where you do moves on a reformer machine, which is a sliding platform with a foot bar, springs, and pulleys to provide resistance. 

In both forms of Pilates, control is the name of the game. You use your bodyweight for resistance (the reformer adds a little something extra), and your goal is to move slowly with control. Your muscles are working to lift against gravity, which isolates and sculpts each muscle group. 

Now let’s talk about the perks of Pilates. Pilates helps tone muscles and strengthen your core — the foundation for everything you do. A study found that people who did Pilates three times a week for eight weeks improved their balance, stability, and mobility ¹. 

What you won’t get from traditional Pilates: cardio benefits. Because of its focus on slow and controlled movements, Pilates is not known to get your heart rate up or make you break a sweat. 

That’s where Physique 57 comes in!

What You Can Expect From Physique 57

Physique 57 is a form of barre, a mix of ballet, yoga, and Pilates. It’s fundamentally based on The Lotte Berk Method, a highly respected fitness technique created by its namesake Lotte Berk, a German dancer looking to stay fit after a back injury. 

Like ballet, our workouts are full of beautiful choreography, grace, and femininity. Similar to Pilates, our method is focused on building core strength and forming lean muscle through focused, intentional movements. But Physique 57 takes things to the next level with our revolutionary method. Physique 57 is 100% unique — a one-of-a-kind transformative method designed for maximum results, efficiency, and fun!

Here are the basics: Classes are typically 57 minutes, but you can find shorter workout routines (everything from 10 minutes to 1 hour) On Demand. You will mainly be using bodyweight as resistance, but the workout also incorporates light weights (3 to 10 pounds) and a barre ball. And of course as a barre workout, you’ll be using a dancer’s barre and a mat. 

In the workout, you can expect a combination of cardio, strength training, and dance — this fusion is what makes it so effective! Our formula combines interval overload training, isometrics, and stretching to systematically sculpt and lengthen your muscles while also revving your metabolism. We also use isotonic movements — which are big, dynamic moves — to increase the range of motion and add cardio. This combination is what creates interval overload. 

Interval overload is a combination of high intensity interval training and muscle overload. With our interval training sets, your muscles are targeted and overloaded to the point of fatigue, then stretched for relief. 

Interval training raises your heart rate, enhances your endurance, and boosts your metabolism. Studies have shown that high intensity interval training increases lean body mass ², and it improves aerobic capacity more than jogging or biking ³. How about the overload part? That’s the burning, shaking feeling that actually changes your muscle fibers. (You can read more about interval overload here.) 

Another key ingredient to our secret sauce: isometrics. With isometric exercises, you use your own bodyweight as resistance to challenge your muscles without any visible contractions or movements. Often simply holding a certain muscle can be more powerful than doing 100 reps! The best part: Isometric moves tone your muscles without increasing their size, so you’ll have a long, lean, sculpted shape. 

Almost every move in Physique 57 is an expert blend of interval overload and isometrics, so you get ALL the sculpting and cardio benefits at the same time. 

How Physique 57 Raises The Barre 

Physique 57 takes the best parts of Pilates and other exercise types and brings it up a notch! Here are some of the perks of Physique 57 vs. Pilates and other workouts:

It gets your heart rate up

As we mentioned before, traditional Pilates does not incorporate cardio. With Physique 57’s interval overload method, you get the cardio benefits of high intensity interval training in addition to all the sculpting and lengthening. This will spike your heart rate, boost your endurance, and make you break a serious sweat! 

You’ll get a big-time burn 

Another perk of incorporating cardio AND toning is a major caloric burn. A typical Physique 57 workout burns up to 650 calories depending on your bodyweight and fitness level — significantly more than other forms of exercise, including 1 hour of Pilates (390 calories), 1 hour of spinning (300 calories), running a mile (100 calories), or swimming a mile (400 calories).

You’ll build lean body mass

Physique 57 workouts are specifically designed to build lean body mass, which impacts your metabolism and determines how lean you look. A study done by the Department of Exercise Physiology at Adelphi University showed that Physique 57 produced greater changes in lean body mass over a four-week period than Pilates, yoga, aerobics, and running. 

You’ll never get bored

Our workouts incorporate innovative choreography and we constantly switch up the positions and tempo, so the time flies by! Even if you’re working your thighs for 20 minutes, the variety of exercises will keep you challenged, focused, and entertained. Plus, the choreography is always changing so you’ll never feel bored or hit a plateau. 

You’ll have FUN!

Unlike the slower tempo Pilates, Physique 57 has an energizing pace, upbeat music, and exciting choreography. You’ll be working hard but still have a huge smile on your face!

Try it for yourself!

Experience these amazing benefits in one of our On Demand workout classes or in our New York City studio. See you there!

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6732550/
  2. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.01098.2006
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30622842/