HIIT + Pilates: 5 Reasons They Work So Well Together

Posted By Hollie Grant - 26-02-2018 - 26 days ago

Around 7 years ago I completed my Pilates training and began teaching Reformer Pilates at a few studios in London. I loved it and was obsessed with trying out new Pilates studios to get ideas and inspiration from other professionals.


After 3 years of teaching around 30 classes per week (that’s 4680 in 3 years) I felt I was noticing a pattern. So many of my clients loved Pilates but hated cardiovascular exercise. They would be super strong, flexible and have incredible body awareness but would admit they couldn’t run for a bus.


It seemed as though people were split into 2 camps – those who like cardio, and those who don’t. I decided to look for a way to sneak cardiovascular elements into my client’s sessions, without too much moaning, and make sure they were strong from a musculoskeletal AND cardiovascular sense. High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, was the answer. It’s short sharp bursts of tough cardiovascular effort followed by rest periods. This is how The Model Method was born – it is the perfect fitness model covering both bases.




Here are my top 5 reasons why Pilates and HIIT is a winning combination, and the only mix that holds my attention.


HIIT doesn’t take up much time


A HIIT session can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes – it doesn’t have to take long. This leaves you more time to do the fun things in life – like Pilates 🙂


Pilates is The Perfect Time Filler


In HIIT we have to allow rest periods where the heart rate drops back down in a cyclical manner. Why sit there doing nothing in those rest periods when you could be doing Pilates in those breaks – that’s multitasking right there!


[Enjoying this Blog on the benefits of combining HIIT & Pilates? After reading this be sure to check out ‘The Top 5 Misconceptions of HIIT’ HERE]


Pilates Improves Body awareness


Some HIIT exercises on their own, by the nature of them being completed in quick speed, can be a little tricky to get right. Pilates teaches you to know exactly where your body is in space and therefore how to improve your technique of said exercises. HIIT workouts are carried out much more safely when an understanding of how your body moves is considered.




Pilates targets your musculoskeletal strength


It helps to develop muscles in a balanced, intelligent way. HIIT is basically throwing yourself around a room as fast as you can. This targets your cardiovascular system. Therefore together they build a body that is safe, fit, healthy and less at risk of injury.


The Combination Targets Both Large And Small Muscle Groups


In HIIT we tend to use large, global muscles to elevate the heart rate so you will find many HIIT exercises are leg dominant such as squat jumps, plyometric lunges etc. In Pilates the focus is the core. Combine those two together, with some arm exercises thrown in for good measure and you have a full body focus.




The Model Method was designed with years of experience and research behind it. It took 4 years to perfect and is based on in-depth consultations. If you are a Pilates instructor thinking of adding HIIT into your sessions, please know that you must also have a PT/ETM or similar qualification.


I hope this blog will help persuade anyone who hasn’t incorporated HIIT into their Pilates workouts or Pilates into their HIIT workouts to give it a go. I would love to know how it works for you!


 There are 5 ways to try out The Model Method HIIT & Pilates combination yourself:


  1. Train with Hollie and the team at PilatesPT at Mandarin Oriental London
  2. Train with Hollie and the team at PilatesPT in Fulham
  3. Train with PilatesPT at No.1 Carnaby by Sweaty Betty every Monday
  4. The Model Method Online 8 Week Holistic Plan
  5. The Model Method Book



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Hollie Grant is an award-winning Pilates instructor and Personal Trainer. She is the owner of London based studio PilatesPT where, alongside her all female team, she trains clients including Jourdan Dunn and Melissa Hemsley. As the creator of The Model Method and The Model Method Online Hollie’s motivation is to change women’s relationship with their bodies and learn to love exercise.

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