Pick Your Poison: Pilates or Yoga

Can you tell I'm not a fan?  My exercise consists of running and swimming, neither of which does anything for my core (which I could certainly use).

But Gretchen Reynolds writes at nytimes.com that it depends on which area of the body you want to strengthen.

"If your aim is to strengthen your midsection, then Pilates is a fine choice," she reports.  She notes that, in a small but well-designed study last year, "Nine sedentary women who completed 36 weeks of supervised Pilates training bulked up their abdominal muscles by as much as 20 percent, while also lessening any existing muscular imbalances there."

Now, if you're looking to strengthen larger parts of the body, yoga may be your cup of tea.

Reynolds says yoga, however, especially hatha yoga, with its flowing poses, will do just this.
She notes that a 2011 study found that after six months of almost-daily sun salutations (a multipart yoga pose) and no other resistance training, "Young men and women could bench-press significantly more weight and complete far more push-ups and pull-ups than at the start of the study."

The upshot? Pilates may be preferable if your primary goal is a solid core, but if you’re hoping to strengthen your upper body and goose your push-up tally, you’ll probably accomplish more with sun salutations and other yoga moves.


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