A guest post by Emily from YogiWear.com
Are you looking for an exercise regimen that gives you power, balance, endurance, flexibility, and strength? You might be surprised to know that combining a strength training program with your yoga routine can do just that. Like the popular favorite peanut butter and jelly, these bosom buddies are an unlikely pair that combines into a most wonderful entity.
Yoga and Strength Training: A Match Made in Heaven
Fundamentally, strength training refers to the use of increasingly heavy weights to build resistance and strengthen the body. It’s an excellent option for those who want to build pure muscle.
Yoga, on the other hand, is more about building flexibility and strength while simultaneously promoting a calmer mind. It is because of these traits and benefits of yoga that it helps bring a more balanced approach to strength training:
- Yoga helps reduce the risk of injury caused by weight training.
- Yoga makes it easier to perform poses and everyday activities like lifting, sitting, and walking.
- Yoga helps the overall repair and recovery of the muscles used while strength training.
For instance, certain resting asanas help the muscles stretch and relax, increasing blood flow to the areas that need it most. This increased blood flow brings more oxygen into the areas as well, which helps the muscles grow stronger.
You can even take the breathing principles of yoga into strength training. For instance, if you’re performing a weight training exercise (like a clean and jerk), a better breathing technique can help you execute the lift.
5 Yoga Poses That Can Help Your Weight Training
If you want to use yoga to help you increase your performance and strength, it’s best if you do so after your training session. In this way, your body gets at least one day to recover. Yoga is a restorative practice there’s no doubt about that, but certain types still provide an intense physical practice.
To help you get started, consider the following poses as they address many of the places where we often face limitations. They are designed to decompress the vertebrae, mobilize the hamstring, relieve inflammation, and help you achieve a higher hip rotation and flexion.
- Triangle: Helps develop and deepen the hip hinge movement pattern.
- Downward dog: Mobilizes and lengthens the superficial back line while simultaneously decompressing the spine.
- Warrior one: Aids with hip and shoulder flexion
- Low lunge with quad stretch: Lengthen the quadriceps while simultaneously helping with deep knee flexion.
- Pigeon: Helps foster a deeper hip opening
Things to Remember
If you’re strength training, one thing’s for sure – you need to rest and recover properly. This gives your muscle tissue time to recover and prepare for another weight training session. If you don’t set time aside for your muscle to rest, it causes your muscle fibers to become weak and stressed, which can lead to injury and poor performance. So, when coming up with your combination weight training/yoga schedule, there are some important things to be taken into consideration. For instance:
- Begin with a targeted approach. When you create your weight training schedule, do so with an emphasis on the specific muscle groups you want to target as well as how you will train to achieve your goals.
- Use a complementary style of yoga. Find the type of yoga that’s best for your specific weight training program. Also, remember to maintain your focus on poses that stretch recently conditioned muscles as well as the ones that help even out your program.
- Make the time. You will work a little harder, maybe even get up a little earlier to incorporate a little yoga into your routine.
- Don’t force yourself to do weight training and yoga every day if your schedule is too tight. You can devote three or four days for strength and two days of yoga if that works best for you. At the end of the day, create the schedule fits YOU.
Why Change Your Routine?
To get the most out of your workout, it’s vital that you switch things up every now and then. This is why CrossFitters “WOD” each day–the metabolic conditioning part of their workout is different every single day. Routine is the enemy! So switching things up prevents your body from getting burned out. Add in more recovery–especially if you’re battling an injury or lifting plateau. Find a way to challenge yourself in new ways!
Make sure to get enough rest. Your body repairs itself when you are sleeping so getting enough rest is essential to a success program. Make sure you listen to your body and don’t strain yourself.
Comfort is essential. When honing your body into tip-top shape, your workout clothes are probably the last thing on your mind. But, comfortable yoga clothing that doesn’t bunch up or get in the way can make the difference between a horrible workout session and a good one.
Yoga is excellent for building natural strength but, if you are looking to gain muscle as well, strength training is your best friend. Using the above tips is a great way to help you successfully integrate the two disciplines into your workout regimen for a more well-rounded regimen. Namaste.