March 3, 2008

Longer and Leaner with Pilates?

PilatesWouldn’t it be great if there was an exercise regimen that could change the shape of your muscles so they became long and lean? If you listen to the hype being dished by certain fitness pros, you might be inclined to believe that Pilates is just this ticket. Here’s the claim: Lifting weights is bad because it bulks up your muscles, making you tight and stiff. Pilates, on the other hand, supposedly lengthens muscles, giving you a “dancer’s physique” that is willowy and flowing.

Pretty amazing, huh? Think about it. Increasing the length of your muscles would not only make you leaner, but also taller and more statuesque. Heck, sign me up now!

One little problem…the prospect of becoming longer and leaner is a physiologic impossibility. Can’t happen. Fact is, your genetic structure is inherent.  Each and every muscle in your body has a predetermined shape predicated on such factors as fiber type composition, tendon insertions, and muscle belly length. You simply cannot alter these properties unless you somehow find a mad scientist who’s invented a new form of gene therapy. Sorry, but that’s reality.

Woman FlexingNow this isn’t to say Pilates doesn’t have a place in a workout routine. If integrated into a regimented exercise program, it can help to enhance general fitness levels, building basic strength and flexibility. But don’t fall prey to marketing propaganda. Unfortunately, there are too many people in the fitness field selling the sizzle rather than the steak. This only leads to frustration and disappointment down the road. Exercise, no matter what form, can only improve upon your inherent genetic structure. Understand your limitations and develop your body to its fullest within its genetic potential. With a little hard work and persistence, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

TAGS: Pilates, long lean muscles, longer muscles, leaner muscles


  1. Thanks for the clarification concerning pilates. I took a pilates workshop and even got certified a few years back. Although I believe there are benefits in pilates, some fitness professionals boast that pilates (alone) is what caused them to be leaner, add more muscle, gave them a “six pack,” it goes on & on.

    I believe we can safely say that pilates seems to increase one’e flexibility–if one is consistent. Brad, thanks again for clearing up the hype.

    Comment by Joan — March 19, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  2. Jonathan…

    I am very impressed with your site. The quality of the design and content makes it a real winner! Thanks again for a great site and a great resource on the net….

    Trackback by Jonathan — April 30, 2008 @ 1:09 am

  3. Perfect work!

    Comment by tanie wakacje — May 28, 2013 @ 4:50 am

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