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Can you really make muscles longer and leaner?, with Raphael Bender and Cloe Bunter

Episode 49:

Can Pilates really make your muscles longer and leaner?

That’s what’s advertised, right, but is it true–can Pilates really make your muscles longer and leaner? Well, yes, it can — which is why this week’s Pilates Elephants is a reverse elephant. On the show, we usually dispel the common myths that have sprung up around Pilates, but this time, we’re showing you the science behind why practicing Pilates will actually help you get longer, leaner muscles. We dig into the details of why longer muscles won’t make you taller, but will help you become more flexible and build strength.

What You Will Learn:

  • How Pilates helps you build longer leaner muscles
  • Why longer muscles will enhance your flexibility
  • Why long lean muscles won’t make you taller!
  • The aesthetic results of doing exercise and why it’s highly personal
  • How to find up to date research and scientific information to improve your health literacy

Why Do Clients Choose Pilates?

Often people’s reasons for doing Pilates change and evolve over time. We hear from clients that they start coming to Pilates classes because they’re hoping to solve pain issues or because they’ve heard about the aesthetic that Pilates gives you. Then they continue for reasons such as improved overall health and wellbeing, social engagement, or improved mental health. Clients come to enjoy the feeling of strength and suppleness that Pilates brings.

Long and Lean

Those long, lean Pilates muscles are a mainstay of Pilates advertising, but unlike much of the myth peddled as fact in the movement industry, it’s actually true. The fact that Pilates can build long lean muscles is backed by scientific research. If you practice Pilates for an extended period of time, your muscles will lengthen, and you will feel more supple and flexible because of those long muscles.

How Do Muscles Become Longer?

When you do resistance training, of which Pilates is one form, one of the things that happens is that you get stronger because your muscles get bigger. They get bigger because they create more contractile proteins, which are called actin and myosin. So, when you train at long muscle lengths, the actin and myosin are laid down end to end, and your muscles get longer.

Lean Muscle Definition

About Raphael and Cloe:

Raphael Bender, CEO, Breathe Education

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

Cloe Bunter, Training Manager, Breathe Education

With 8+ years in the industry, both teaching Pilates and nurturing new instructors, Cloe is passionate about empowering new and seasoned instructors to think critically and move fearlessly. Empowered instructors empower their clients, and in turn, change lives.

She finds great joy in building connections with clients, students, colleagues, and the broader movement and rehab community. Co-hosting the Pilates Elephants Podcast, with Raphael Bender, has provided an incredible platform to bust common Pilates, movement, and rehab myths whilst creating a worldwide community of critical thinkers who are elevating health literacy.

Cloe is fascinated by movement in general, and its ability to enhance our lives, at any age. Her own movement practice includes Contrology/Pilates, running, weights, and kettlebells. She has a Diploma of Clinical Pilates, Cert IV in Pilates, and Cert IV in Training and Assessing.

How to Connect with Raphael and Cloe:

3 Myths About Posture in Pilates eBook:

  • You can find the eBook here

Free, Live Q&A with Raphael:

  • Tough questions, real answers – free Q&A.

Longer leaner muscles

  • Explanation of how actin & myosin proteins produce muscle force here

Research papers:

  • Resistance exercise that includes long muscle lengths is more effective for strengthening here
  • Resistance training at short muscle lengths increases muscle cross-sectional area (width), whereas training at long muscle lengths results in more sarcomeres in series – aka longer muscles here, and here, and here
  • Training through partial range of motion is superior – as long as that partial range includes the longest part of the range of motion here

Research reviews and educational resources:
(None of these are paid partnerships)

Our Pilates instructor training is 100 percent online, so you can study from anywhere in the world.

Earn recognition: Your Breathe Education Pilates qualifications are recognized by the Australian Government, Exercise & Sport Science Australia, and all major insurers.

Build your skills: with our pilates instructor training, you’ll learn the original Contrology exercises created by Joseph Pilates. Plus, you’ll learn the most current, science-based ways to cue and program those exercises, how to work with injured and pregnant clients, and nurture beginners.

Gain confidence: Learning is fun and easy when you engage with our state-of-the-art eLearning system, filled with straightforward, relevant content and structured to guide your training as you build skills and confidence.

Feel supported: You’ll learn world-class problem-solving skills, not just a list of answers. Our student success team and trainers will provide you with all the guidance, challenge, and support you’ll need to become what you want to become.

Take your first step to becoming a certified Pilates instructor by scheduling a 20-minute Discovery Call with us here.

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