Why are there so few repetitions in Pilates workouts?
Unlike many forms of strength training, Pilates Mat exercises are only done 3-5 times and never more than 10 times. Why???
Joseph Pilates created an intricate system of exercises for the mat and for special equipment. The method (originally termed “Contrology") was not created to be yet another "fatiguing system of dull, boring, abhorred exercises repeated daily ad-nausem." (J. Pilates) but an intelligent system of exercises that requires only a few reps to reap the benefits, as long as the exercises are performed with precision and control and with the right kind of intention in mind.
Pilates sessions tend to be about 1 hour long and can have around 20-25 exercises for a beginner all the way up to 45 or even more than 50 exercises at an advanced level, with each exercise building on the one that came before it. Every session includes as many body movements as possible (flexion, extension, rotation etc.) in as many joints as possible. Each exercise is always working multiple body parts simultaneously.
So fewer repetitions does not necessarily mean you are exercising less... Give your best for a few reps and flow into the next exercise. As you progress in your practice, the repetitions will lessen, your pace will quicken and the number of exercises you complete in a session will increase. This will require you to stay "in the zone" and will benefit not only your body but also your mind!!