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Yoga or Pilates: which is better if I am looking to gain strength and flexibility?

Health & FitnessYoga or Pilates: which is better if I am looking to gain strength and flexibility?

Both Yoga and Pilates are two disciplines that are gaining much acceptance by people interested in improving not only their physique and health, but also other skills relevant to their quality of life such as strength and flexibility.

Flexibility is the ability of a joint to move through a very wide range of motion without restriction and without pain. This ability is not fixed, but on the contrary can be trained, but for this, is it more interesting to use Yoga or Pilates?


Pilates is probably a much better option than Yoga when it comes to gaining strength in all the muscles that make up the core, and of course it is also a very effective option for improving posture, but it is not the best option when the objective is to improve flexibility.

During Pilates the muscles are confronted with opposing forces (gravity being the main force), and therefore the muscle mass of the buttocks, arms and legs can be strengthened by exercising them in the classes.

In fact, Pilates classes work on exercises and postures that can even increase the stiffness of some muscles, such as the hip flexors.

Although this is a consequence of working them with the aim of improving strength, from a certain point it is even possible to cause pain in the lower back, and therefore it is also desirable that if we are regular Pilates we give some priority to stretching.


In Yoga also works the core muscles and posture, but the truth is that it emphasizes much more the work of flexibility, reaching to devote a large part of the class to the improvement of this quality.

In any case, if you are interested in this type of classes and you can practice both, you should not stay only with one of the two as there is no doubt that they can be totally complementary, but certainly if your intention is to improve flexibility, Yoga may be more advisable.

How to train flexibility at home: three key points to become more flexible

Types of Yoga

Keep in mind that depending on the teacher, the center where it is taught, and the content, there can be very big differences between Yoga classes.

In fact, a Yoga class that is rather focused on the spiritual character of this discipline is likely to have little or no transfer to sports skills.

Specifically, the type of Yoga that may interest you most if you are looking to improve your flexibility is Ashtanga, which is certainly one of the most physically demanding modalities.

In this modality the order of the asanas or postures is predefined unlike what happens in other styles of Yoga, so all the movement is done in a very continuous and fluid way.

Possibly this style of Yoga is not the most recommended for people who do not have a physical base because some postures (or the own uninterrupted rhythm of the session) can be somewhat demanding.

For this reason, if you are really interested in working on your flexibility, please consult the type of classes that will be offered before signing up.


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