Yoga has been around for thousands of years. It’s been a big part of my fitness journey. I’m not sure if I’d gotten this far if it wasn’t for the benefits I got from yoga . I’ve mentioned how it can help lifters. Did you know that the reverse is also true? Lifting weights can help yogis.
The most obvious reason weight lifting helps yogis is the boost in strength. Being strong makes everything easier. weight lifting also increases bone density. This comes to good use when you’re doing yoga poses that require joint stability. The key to using weight training as a yoga compliment is lifting properly and choosing the right exercises.
How Should Yogis Strength Train
Low Reps: Keeping your reps low in weight lifting is a good way to build strength and keeping muscle bulk under control. As a yogi, you want to feel strong yet mobile. Having too much muscle mass can limit your flexibility. Keeping your reps low will also reduce the risk of soreness, which can get in the way of your performance.
Smooth Reps: Choose a weight that you can move for quality reps. That means you don’t need to be going for one rep maxes if your main focus is improving your yoga performance. Getting good reps improves your neuromuscular efficiency. This will help you get stronger without having to strain yourself. This is how Strength Coach Pavel Tsatsouline recommends to lift. Personally, I love moving heavy weights but my goal isn’t to maximize my yoga performance. Another benefit of getting quality reps is that you reduce your risk of injury.
Best Strength Training Exercises For Yoga
People who do yoga can benefit from all the basic weight lifting movements.There are some exercises that have a great direct translation to yoga.
Bulgarian Split Squat: When I think of weight lifting exercises that directly benefit yoga, the Bulgarian Split Squat is the first one that comes to mind. It not only builds leg strength and muscle but it also builds leg stability. I’ve noticed that my standing lunges warrior II poses are a lot smoother when Bulgarian Split Squats are part of my weight lifting routine. The body position of these yoga poses and the Bulgarian Split Squat are very similar. The funny thing is the standing lunge and the Warrior II help me with my Bulgarian Split Squat performance. This is an example of why weight lifting and yoga are a match made in heaven.
Barbell Bench-Press: The Barbell Bench-Press will help your yoga practice due to the increase in shoulder, pectorial, and tricep strength. These strength increases are useful when doing the Chaturanga pose and the more advanced yoga poses that require you to balance on your shoulders.
Any Hamstring Strengthening Exercise: This one is pretty general. I’ve experienced that I can balance on one leg easier when my hamstrings feel strong. There are several yoga poses that require balancing on one leg so this is useful. Some of the best hamstring strengthening lifts are the deficit deadlift, the weighted glute bridge, and the kettlebell swing.
If you want to improve your yoga practice, you should lift weights. If you want to boost your weight lifting performance, you should do yoga. These two training methods will work in unison to improve your overall physical performance, appearance, health, and quality of life!