Gym goers are often obsessed with strength, physique, and body sculpting, which is certainly not something to be ashamed of, after all, if you have a great body you should work on it and flaunt it! Now, the best way to build muscle is with weight training exercises, but there’s also a downside to focusing on workouts that build muscle strength.
As you gain bulk and those beautiful bulges get more pronounced, you tend to neglect other aspects of exercise, resulting in reduced flexibility, stiffness, and poor balance. While die hard bodybuilders and yogis may always seem to be a loggerheads, you should take the middle ground, using weight training and yoga to sculpt the perfect body.
So, let’s break those stereotypes of buffed men and women being raging bulls with high testosterone levels, or of yoga enthusiasts primarily being women, or effeminate men! Here’s how yoga increase the gains from your weight training and fitness routine.
Yoga For Weight Training
While your primary goal is to get buff, would it really hurt to be flexible? Aside from being able to show off some incredible back-bends, you’d also be able to try out. We certainly don’t need proof of yoga’s tremendous power to boost flexibility, but there are several studies that show how the practice can increase flexibility in as little as 10 weeks of practice. Reduced flexibility is an inherent drawback of sporting bulging biceps, but with yoga this problem can be significantly reduced.
Reduced Injury Risk
Increased flexibility and stretching of the muscles and ligaments from yoga reduces the risk of exercise related injuries commonly associated with weight training. In your enthusiasm to build muscle and get a six pack, it’s not unusual to push yourself too far, lifting heavy weights and doing squats, curls and pull-up. While this may be great and it certainly feels satisfying, over- exercising and pushing yourself relentlessly will invariably lead to muscle pulls, cramps, sprains and more serious injuries. The pain and discomfort then sets you back a few months, derailing those fitness goals.
Balance & Control
Regular yoga practice promotes greater kinesthetic awareness and improved balance, which allows you to pull off moves that would otherwise be pretty risky, if not impossible.
Studies have shown that weight lifting also boosts intelligence, so you don’t have to worry about being all brawn and no brain. But, you do need to strengthen the mind and muscle connection for reflexive strength training. It basically opens a whole new world of opportunity in your gym too. Doing those barbell squats and ab crunches with perfect form will be a piece of cake if you’re also practising yoga.
The combination of weight training with yoga works wonders for strength, as yoga involves static contraction or isometric holds that increase endurance as well.
When a yoga session is combined with weight training, it actually maximises the benefits of both practices, as yoga also strengthens muscles. In case you want to push your fitness goals to the next level and take up bodybuilding this will come in pretty hands, as you will have greater endurance and control that allows you to strike and hold difficult postures that actually highlight the muscles.
In case you now think we are on a crusade to propagate yoga, and deride gymming or bodybuilding, we are not. Yoga enthusiasts have as much to gain from taking up weight training or light resistance training.