Gain Muscle With Yoga Or Pilates

By Patricia | October 16, 2008
Gain Muscle With Yoga Or Pilates

Muscular fitness is an important aspect of physical fitness. It is a mark of muscle strength and endurance. Conventional forms of exercise to gain muscle include weight training. Body-mind approaches to fitness like yoga and Pilates also work towards maintaining muscular fitness. Unlike weight training where you use external weights, regular practice of yoga (or Pilates) involves using your body weight as a source of resistance to build strength.

Yoga involves a series of poses in combination with breathing techniques. Holding these poses is what strengthens the muscles. When you hold your own body weight, the effort put into this action by the muscles helps to tone and define them.

Holding your body weight is not an easy task. It takes a lot of strength and practice. Your muscles are stretched, they become longer and leaner; this is especially true of your biceps and the abdominal muscles. The longer you hold the pose, the harder you’ll feel it in these target regions. However, unlike weight training, yoga will not give you that bulky, buff look. If you are going for the “I train weights” look, only yoga (or Pilates) won’t get you there.

What you do get with yoga (or Pilates) is a visible lean look. Your biceps are sharp and your abs are toned. In addition yoga benefits your body in a host of other ways. While weight training focuses on only one set of muscles, holding yoga postures works the entire body and all the muscles involved.
Weight training works the muscles to exhaustion. In addition lifting weights releases acidic waste that causes discomfort and burning sensation post training. If your routine is too stressful, it can cause muscle fatigue and make you injury prone. Yoga stretches and strengthens muscles. The use of breathing techniques ensures an adequate supply of oxygen to the muscles, flushing out the toxins and ensuring muscles flexibility. This also prevents muscle fatigue.

Weight lifting exercises break down and rebuild muscle tissue. This usually causes shortening and tightening in the muscles, which often results in injuries such as stained hamstrings. Yoga, on the other hand, helps the muscles contract to resistance without shortening the muscle fiber. Thus the muscles retain mobility and flexibility.

The best results will be gained if you combine the two forms of exercise. Alternate between weight training and yoga (or Pilates) for the maximum benefit. It will give you that buffed look you want without the undesirable side effects or threats that come with it. In addition, yoga (or Pilates) training will help you focus better and also give you more strength and energy.

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