Why do we do fewer repetitions in Pilates?
Pilates is a “mind-body” method of exercise. That means that one must focus on the movement being executed and not think of what they’re going to have for dinner while moving. I call it being present. Be present and notice where your limbs are. Are you working evenly between both sides of the body? Are your shoulders square? Can you move just a bit farther without compromising your form?
We can easily, mindlessly do crunches. Mindless repetitions, over and over again. Are you really benefiting? I suppose there is some, but not as much as if you purposefully perform 10-12 repetitions in awesome form. Within those 10-12 reps you can focus on the task at hand and hone in on the muscles. Beautiful.
We usually do 10-12 repetitions per exercise in the fundamental and intermediate level. In the fundamental level movements are basic and are the core of the method. One should strive to perfect the basics to set up a strong foundation. The intermediate level introduces more complex motions, connecting and stringing together fundamentals. Coordination gets challenged. Here comes that mind-body idea again. Can you maintain the form while moving through many planes and executing multiple motions? Those 10-12 repetitions are enough to receive the benefits of the movement and challenge you.
Advanced level Pilates does not do 10-12 reps. You only do about 5-7. Why? It should be challenging to do 5-7 with proper form. Yes, challenging. In the advanced level you should have a very strong foundation, coordination, you should be able to multi-task within the mind to go through a checklist regarding the movement and be present so that while your moving you are in control (many advanced moves are balance oriented).
This is a basic way of looking at a Pilates session or class and the reason behind the repetitions.
There you have it. Questions? Fire away!