Just Say Noga
July 19, 2012 7:27 AM   Subscribe

What are some alternatives to yoga for flexibility and strength?

I am curious what other weightless systems have been developed for flexibility and general strength development, particularly those not derived from millenia-old religious practice. I am aware of Pilates, of course, but is there anything more recent?
posted by adamdschneider to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
How about calisthenics?

FWIW, my husband does only body weight exercises (pull ups, push ups, sit ups, and some other strange things he's made up) along with jumping rope and some basic stretching, and he's incredibly strong and flexible.
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:30 AM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've gotten great benefit from T-Tapp. I find the website (especially the forums) off-putting, but the workout itself is a great routine.

Classical Stretch / Essentrics is another system that gets great reviews, although I don't really click with it.

There're also a lot of barre and ballet influenced workouts around now, which probably meet your criteria.
posted by Kriesa at 7:32 AM on July 19, 2012

posted by bfranklin at 7:35 AM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

More or less any martial art
posted by MangyCarface at 7:36 AM on July 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Method Putkisto too (I found it through this book). Good battery of deep-stretching and strengthening techniques put together recently by a Finnish trainer.
posted by lokta at 8:05 AM on July 19, 2012

What about ballet? I'm in an adult beginner's class. It's tough, but fun.
posted by Partario at 8:07 AM on July 19, 2012

posted by saladin at 8:31 AM on July 19, 2012

Seconding ballet. Nothing I've ever tried has worked my muscles and tested my flexibility like it does.
posted by tryniti at 8:48 AM on July 19, 2012

Lotte Berk Method has been around for a good while; I remember my mom doing it in the '70s. It's barre-based with some floorwork.
posted by catlet at 9:51 AM on July 19, 2012

You might enjoy this discussion of whether stretching, by itself, has any real physiological or health benefits:
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:18 AM on July 19, 2012

Fwiw, I believe that yoga is really more of a modern phenomenon than a practice with some kind of direct religious lineage. Recent scholarship indicates yoga was strongly influenced by british gymnastics!
posted by yarly at 10:57 AM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Simplefit.com is similar to the workouts dpx.mfx's husband does.
posted by Brittanie at 10:58 AM on July 19, 2012

Tai Chi
posted by benbenson at 11:09 AM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sorry, that's simplefit.org
posted by Brittanie at 1:30 PM on July 19, 2012

It is derivative of the Lotte Berk method - but you're likely to find a class nearer to you - The Bar Method has gone nationwide. I was so much stronger and more flexible when I was going regularly.
posted by Wolfie at 1:39 PM on July 19, 2012

Capoeira is fun and pushes both flexibility and strength in my experience. That said, I have injured myself pretty badly while doing it, due to over extending myself.

Might be worth trying out if you can find some people to practice it with.
posted by jonbro at 9:32 PM on July 19, 2012

posted by flabdablet at 10:33 PM on July 19, 2012

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