The debate over which exercise method is the best way to tone up has been hotly debated among women for quite a while. With the recent surge in yoga’s popularity, it is time we look again to find out which one really is best.

If we look to some of the fittest celebs like Jennifer Aniston and Eva Longoria, we continuously hear them raving about their yoga practice; it isn’t often that we hear them boasting about their strict strength training regimen. While it is true they might have one, we don’t hear about it so we’ll have to dig a little deeper and find a few more facts to help us determine which method is best for toning up.

When most people hear the word strength training they almost always think of weight training, lifting dumbbells or using various weight machines. However, yoga is not much different as many of the poses and movements require that you support the weight of your own body with various muscle groups. So both types of activities have the potential to increase your muscle tone and improve definition. The difference is that it takes more practice time to develop the skills necessary to complete a yoga workout that involves lifting your own body weight in various ways to keep making a noticeable difference. The benefit, however, is that while toning up your body, you’re also improving yourself from a mental aspect as well. With weight training you can continue to increase your muscle strength by increasing the weight you lift. In yoga, you can increase your muscle strength and muscle endurance by changing up your positions, increasing reps and holding them longer.

If the sole purpose of your workout is to gain muscle, weight training would be the quicker, more practical way to do it, but if you are determined enough and really want yoga to be the way you do it, then it is possible. One way that yoga might be a more beneficial way to strength train is that you’re using several groups of muscles together to hold the poses and do reps which can help you improve flexibility, whereas traditional weight training is one-dimensional. Another benefit of doing yoga to build up your muscles instead of traditional weight training is that there is lower risk of injury.

Which method is better can also come down to what kind of look you are hoping to achieve. Weight training tends to make the muscles compact as they build up, which results in a bulky or bulging look. Yoga actually stretches the muscles as they contract and build, so they end up looking a lot sleeker but still toned up and fit. If you want a more of a balanced look or just want to mix things up, it is always a great idea to do a little of both types of strength training.