Tactical Fitness with Stew Smith: Can Pilates Get You Tactically Fit?

Pilates exercise banner.

Stew, I am active military and always looking for good fitness routines, and my girlfriend recently introduced me to Pilates.  So far I really like it. What do you think about it and does it have a place in  helping me maintain military / tactical fitness?  –John


Absolutely! Pilates has been a growing fitness system for 50 years. You can't call it a trend when it has that kind of staying power. 

Basically, Pilates is a combination of calisthenics, yoga, and dancing based stretching. Mix in some creative methods to add resistance training like bands balls and weights, and you have a basic Pilates program. There are plenty of Youtube Videos on the topic.

What many today call old-school ab exercises, those performed by many Special Ops and other military programs like flutter-kicks leg levers scissors V-ups and others, all have a place in Pilates core exercise workouts and have for a very long time. The only real difference in the way a Pilates class performs them is that they point their toes like a dancer and wear yoga pants. 

Within the military, we do these exercises wearing combat boots and cammies.

Pilates not only includes the same exercises, it does them with grace and longer isometric holds. So yes, these exercises are great for men and women and will help your core strength, flexibility, and balance.  All of which are elements a tactical athlete needs. Just don't forget you still need to run, ruck, swim, and basic PT depending on the specifics of your bi-annual fitness test and job requirements.

As you advance in Pilates, you will utilize more equipment as shown below:

Pilates equipment stretches.
But most Pilates are basic calisthenics and stretching movements like below:

Pilates leg stretch.

Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).  There are also over 800 articles on Military.com Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness

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