Kettle Bells and Pilates... Yes, you can!


Crossfit, olympic weight lifting, kettlebells…oh my!  These are a few of the exercises that have been known to make some Pilates teachers cringe.

I’d like to make a confession, I do Pilates...and Orange Theory (gasp!!)

That’s right, I also love spinning, kettlebells and wouldn’t be opposed to Crossfit should the opportunity arise.  I’ve seen movement snobbery aplenty in the Pilates world when these forms of exercise come up.

I recently heard a Pilates teacher say about someone who was doing burpees…”and you wonder why your back hurts?”.

To me, this was flawed logic because it’s only part of the story. Their back isn’t hurting because they do burpees. Their back is hurting because they have an underlying issue that hasn’t been addressed either with movement or manual therapy.

I have no problem with doing these big crazy exercises or telling my clients to do them, if that is their goal.  What we need to make sure of, is that they have no underlying issues that are going to pop up and give them problems when we increase load or speed.

This is why cross training is so important. Our bodies need the big heavy load to work global muscles (big movers) and the light load and balance challenges to work the small stabilizer muscles. Isn’t that the goal to be able to do it all?  If you look at it from a functional standpoint, then the answer is “yes”. We need to be able to walk on the icy sidewalks without feeling like we are taking our life into our hands, we need to be able to pick up our kids when they fall down (or run and jump into our arms) or lift up one side of the couch while your partner vacuums under it. Cross training helps us do all of these things with ease. In fact, since I started doing all types of exercise (including the heavy load exercises), I can do so much more without pain than I could in my 20’s. Pilates is great for stabilizer strength and flexibility (and some heavy load!!) and Orange Theory is great for heavy lifting and fast sprinting. We need both and we should do both.  It’s just the timing we need to pay attention to.