Wouldn’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.
Now 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