At first, strength training and yoga seem so different that there’s no way the two should go together. However, both practices feed into one another to help you achieve your goals. Some might even say they go along like peanut butter and jelly. Each on their own is fantastic practices to keep your body healthy when you combine them. The effects can be almost like a match made in heaven.
What Are Strength Training and Yoga Good For?
Strength training uses resistance to create muscular contraction to build muscle, endurance, and bone density. Yoga focuses more on connecting the mind, body, and soul in more spiritual practice. Each one has its unique health benefits:
- Strength training works for: building muscle, increasing bone density and boosting metabolism.
- Yoga works for: developing strong muscles, improving flexibility, and strengthening connective tissues.
Benefits of Combining Strength Training and Yoga
Although different at their core, both strength training and yoga work towards building muscles. The only difference is the type of weight used. In yoga, people are training using their bodyweight. In strength training, they either use heavy weights or resistance bands to increase muscle size.
When combined, the power of strength training and yoga can be quite beneficial for our health.
Improve Your Yoga Practice
When you incorporate strength training into your yoga practice, you can achieve more balanced yoga poses. Squats and deadlifts work towards building strength in your legs and core, which can reinforce certain stances. Explosive lifts can help improve your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which can help boost your speed in yoga.
Develop Functional Strength
For those attempting isolation exercises, yoga can prove substantially beneficial. Lifting heavier weights often involves adjusting the body in unnatural positions. Yoga helps reconnect your muscles with natural moving patterns, which help you employ your muscles in a more optimized way, while also boosting your endurance.
Speed Up Your Recovery
Weight training makes us more prone to accidents. While yoga isn’t the perfect practice either, the practice is based on elongating and stretching our muscles to promote recovery. Twists stretch, and other poses are meant to encourage blood flow towards a specific area of the body to break down any fused tissue and stimulate the recovery process.
Improve Your Health
Both practices can have a tremendous impact on our health. One study found that resistance exercises can help prevent sarcopenia, osteoporosis, and lower-back pain. Also, since yoga is a mind-body connection practice, it helps defer daily stressors that can negatively affect our lives.
The Potential Downside
While the match between strength training and yoga seems to be perfect, it will all depend on your goals. After all, there’s a noticeable difference between gym people and yoga people. If you’re solely focused on your yoga practice, strength training can reduce flexibility and mobility. Mostly because larger muscles get in the way during certain poses.
Best Yoga Poses for Strength Training
If you’re ready to give yoga strength a try, keep in mind a few tips:
- Hold poses for longer
- Repeat poses
- Add weights
- Try power yoga
- Modify poses to up the difficulty level
Also, consider practicing strength yoga by adding these yoga poses to your repertoire:
- Boat pose
- Warrior II pose
- Half-moon pose
- Chair pose
- Cobra pose
A Note from GR8NESS
Always listen to your body, no matter what. If something feels forced, stop. Listen to your body and gently push it to extend more or lift more, remember to do it gradually. If you’re interested in using strength training and yoga combined, consult with a trainer or attend a studio class to make sure you’re not putting yourself in danger of injury.