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Pilates, Yoga or Weight Training

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There seems to exist a large number of reasons as to why one should choose pilates, yoga or weight training as your main activity. 

The thing that matters the most is the quality of your practise.

There is a general opinion that categorises each one of these activities such as:

Pilates: core strength and back injuries

Yoga: flexibility and mind 

Weight Training: strength/building muscle

However, is this true?

I did my research and found out that there are plenty of studies proving that you can improve:

  • Flexibility with Pilates, Yoga or Weight training 
  • Injuries with Pilates, Yoga or Weight training 
  • Strength with Pilates, Yoga or Weight training

To fully understand this, we need to break down each one of them. I won’t break it down to specifics otherwise this would be a long book but we can do this in simpler way. 

Every activity has its own philosophy/method but all have one thing in common: Force

Every one of these activities has its own philosophy/method but all have one thing in common: Force (or exercise to keep it simple). Every time you move or contract a muscle you generate force. That force will create adaptations in your body. It can create good adaptations such as better flexibility (normally coupled with strength gains), injury recovery, muscle mass gains, strength gains, etc. The other side of the coin is that you also can create maladaptations such as injury, extreme compensations, overtraining and stress. It all depends on how you apply it. 

Another interesting fact is that research says that to improve flexibility, strength or injury rehab active approaches are way more effective than passive ones. Ie: exercise is more effective than a massage for injury recovery .

So, what to choose then? 

It all comes down to two things:

  • Your personal preference;
  • The professional/practitioner/coach. This is, in my option, what makes the most difference. The human body is a super complex organism and we only know very little about it. Someone that understands the science and can assess, create and apply a personalised approach will have the best results. 

Note: every approach has its place in our society regardless of its effectiveness. There is no intent in devaluing any therapy or exercise method in this article.

Some references:

Influence of Moderately Intense Strength Training on Flexibility in Sedentary Young Women Santos, Elisa1; Rhea, Matthew R2; Simão, Roberto3; Dias, Ingrid3; de Salles, Belmiro Freitas3; Novaes, Jefferson3; Leite, Thalita3; Blair, Jeff C2; Bunker, Derek J2

Resistance training for health and performance William J. KraemerNicholas A. RatamessDuncan N. French

Efeito de um programa de treinamento utilizando o método Pilates® na flexibilidade de atletas juvenis de futsal  Flávia Bertolla1, Bruno Manfredini Baroni2, Ernesto Cesar Pinto Leal Junior3 e José Davi Oltramari1 

PILATES NA REABILITAÇÃO: uma revisão sistemática Anne Caroline Luz Grudtner da Silva, Giuliano Mannrich

Effects of Yoga Interventions on Pain and Pain-Associated Disability: A Meta-Analysis ArndtBüssing, ThomasOstermann, RainerLüdtke†AndreasMichalsen‡

Exercise interventions for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials Angela Searle, Martin Spink, Alan Ho, Vivienne Chuter

The role of motor learning and neuroplasticity in designing rehabilitation approaches for musculoskeletal pain disorders Shellie A. Boudreau, Dario Farina, Deborah Falla