Weight Lifting For Yogis

How weightlifting can support your yoga practice.

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!

 

Photo by Bruno Bueno from Pexels

Strong People Should Do Yoga

This post is about how yoga will help you in the weight room and in other areas of fitness

When it comes to building strength, yoga doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Yoga might not have the same effect that weightlifting has for strength building but it’ll indirectly make you stronger.Personally, I wouldn’t have made as much progress with my training if it wasn’t for yoga. From the outside yoga may look like glorified stretching but once you try it, you’ll experience a challenging workout.

Yoga Benefits

Flexibility: Yoga will help boost your overall flexibility. This is useful when trying to lift a weight with a full range of motion. As someone that does yoga, I never have an issue squatting to depth.

Stability: Yoga builds muscle and joint stability. In order to do those standing lunges and single leg poses, your stabilizer muscles will need to be used. The stronger your stabilizers are, the more power you get generate in your movements. Why don’t those people who squat on bosu balls lifting heavy weights? It’s because you can’t generate as much power on an unstable surface.

Core Strength: Several yoga poses will force you to engage your core muscles. A strong core will help you generate more power in any movement you perform. A strong core will also reduce your risk of injuries. Core strength is very important

Muscle recovery: Yoga helps with muscle recovery because it promotes blood flow. It’s probably because of those long poses and the deep breathing done in yoga workouts. I know my sore muscles always feel better after a yoga session.

Balance: Yoga provides the perfect balance to weight lifting. Some lifts like the squat compress your spine while yoga decompresses it. Proper weight lifting requires varying levels of intensity. Yoga can be challenging but it relaxes you. Yoga will also increase your energy so you have more in the tank when you hit the gym.

My Favorite Yoga Poses

Downward Facing Dog: The Downward Facing Dog is good for us lifters that really hit squats and deadlifts. This pose will give you a stretch throughout your backside from your lower back all the way to your calves. Runners and sprinters would benefit from this pose as well. The image on the thumbnail is a good demonstration of the Downward Facing Dog.

High Lunge: The high lunge is one of my favorite poses. The name says it all. In this pose your front leg will be in a lunge position and your back leg will be straight. You’ll also raise your arms to the sky. This pose gives you a groin and hip stretch but my favorite thing about is the increase in single leg stability. This pose will also build muscle endurance so you can perform any physical activity longer. Increased muscle endurance helps with injury prevention.

yoga-crescent-lunge_925x

 

Upward Facing Dog: This move is great for stretching your hip flexors. Tight hip flexors limit glute activation which will hold back your ability to perform big lifts and athletic movements.

upward-facing-dog-yoga_925x

Pigeon Pose: This is a great pose to loosen tight hips. I especially love doing this the day after a hard squat or deadlift workout. I don’t want to butcher the explanation for this pose so I’m putting a link below to help you get a good idea of how the pose is done.

https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-one-legged-king-pigeon-pose-in-yoga

My Yoga Reccomendations:

As someone who likes to do high intensity training like lifting heavy weights and sprinting, I like to do Vinyasa Yoga. I like this type of yoga because it’s not as intense as other forms of yoga. I mainly use yoga as a recovery method on my non-lifting days. I also recommend easing into poses in order to avoid injuries. Yoga should help you feel better, not worse. I’m currently using an app called Down Dog that provides a wide variety of yoga workouts.

Closing Thoughts: I’m so grateful for what yoga has done for me in my fitness journey. It’s helped my body recover from the impacts of intense workouts as well as battle life’s stresses. AS you add yoga to your fitness routine, don’t be surprised if other areas of your life improve as well.

 

The images on this post were taken by the same photographer. I put a link of his instagram below.

https://www.instagram.com/matt_henry_photo/

 

For better yoga tutorials :  https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/

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