As someone who works out A LOT, I definitely have my favorite exercises. You know I’m all about HIIT classes, but to be honest I also love to mix it up. It keeps me out of a rut so I don’t get used to a routine and slack during the workout. You also need to balance your routine to treat your body right.
Speaking of balance, yoga and strength training are a match made in heaven, though many don’t take advantage of the overall balance they offer each other.
Combining the stress-relief and flexibility that yoga provides with the muscle-building features of strength training will give you a balanced workout that affects your mind, body, and soul.
Benefits Of Yoga
I love being able to slow down and lean into the quiet moments of a yoga session. Yoga has long been known to provide stress relief, inner peace, and improved emotional health. This total mind-body workout has been shown in numerous studies to reduce stress and anxiety (Mayo Clinic).
The controlled breathing that’s a key part of yoga helps control your body and put your mind at rest. In addition, many yoga sessions have an additional focus on meditation and relaxation, which helps you practice mindfulness and be “in the moment” so to speak.
However, the benefits of yoga aren’t all in your head – yoga also has a wonderful impact on your physical fitness. From better balance and flexibility to a higher range of motion and strength, yoga can loosen you up and help build and tone muscles.
If you’ve tried yoga for the first time, the only thing you probably remember is that first session was painful. Many beginners can’t touch their toes or hold poses without wobbling around and resetting over and over – and that’s very normal! Over time, regular yoga sessions will relieve aches and pains, tight muscles will start to loosen up, and your balance will improve along with your range of motion.
Yoga also protects your spine, cartilage, and joints; it improves your posture and bone health, increases blood flow, and boosts your immunity.
According to Yoga Journal, practicing yoga regularly has been shown to increase the drainage of lymph, a fluid rich in immune cells. This helps your lymphatic system fight infections!
The benefits of yoga seem to go on forever, but some people will point out the shortcomings of sticking yoga classes exclusively. Remember, it’s all about balancing your workout routine. Where yoga may be lacking is where strength training seems to shine.
Benefits Of Strength Training
Strength training does the obvious – it enhances your muscle mass. However, the benefits of strength training don’t stop there.
Regular strength training stresses your bones, which will ultimately increase bone density, helping fight off conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis.
For those looking to manage their weight, strength training can be a real golden ticket – it increases your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories throughout the day.
According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training can also have the ability to enhance your overall quality of life! By building muscle, everyday tasks because easier. For example, you have less risk of falling. This can help you stay independent with age.
About aging – it’s expected that as you age, you’ll start losing up to 5% of your lean muscle mass per year. A recent study showed that just 30 minutes of strength training twice per week can counteract that.
There’s a big movement happening that says strong is the new sexy. I’m not talking bodybuilder crazy muscles with the flexibility of a statue (is that why they’re so good at posing?), but some definition and tone that shows off your strength. If you’re after the “sexy strong” look, you can’t ignore the benefits of strength training.
But now we’re practically at the complete opposite end of the workout spectrum from yoga. What gives?
Yoga and Strength Training Are Complementary
Yoga and strength training are like peanut butter and jelly – or lulu and messy buns. They compliment each other so well because where one lacks, the other shines, and vice versa.
Yoga has a total mind-body effect that builds and strengthens the longer you practice it. Strength training has the power to fill your life with vitality, especially as you age.
Both have their place, but when combined, yoga and strength training offer a fully balanced schedule that essentially doubles up the benefits you receive from your workouts.
Perks of Practicing Both Yoga and Strength Training
When you accompany yoga with strength training, you unlock this beautiful partnership that has an overwhelming impact on your mental and physical health.
Here are some of the perks you’ll notice when you practice both.
Flexibility and Strength Building
If you lift weights exclusively, you get the benefit of strength building. However, that’s often at the expense of flexibility.
When you combine yoga and strength training during your weekly routine, you get the benefits of both!
Better Breathing During Your Strength Training Workouts
We’ve all been in that place where your body is under tension and you are holding your breath, waiting for the release so we can huff and puff as we relax. This is terrible form, but it can become a habit when you don’t practice good breathing techniques.
That’s where yoga comes in. A huge component of yoga is controlled breathing, and by staying mindful about your breathing and employing the techniques you’ve learned, you’ll double up on the muscle-building benefits.
Muscle Mass and Endurance
Strength training gives you the obvious benefit of increased muscle mass. However, you can miss out on muscle endurance, and muscle flexibility. Fortunately, this is where yoga shines.
Yoga offers muscle tone and endurance through its slow-moving poses that force your body to hold positions for extended periods of time. This not only will help you lift weights during your strength training sessions, but it extends to everyday life. Yep, even something as simple as getting off the couch will become easier.
Less Chance of Injury
Yoga is known to improve your range of motion while also encouraging better posture. While this will help you avoid back pain if you’re sitting at a desk all day, it also transfers to your strength training efforts.
By adding yoga into your weekly routine, you’ll be far less likely to suffer from a weight lifting-related injury. Better range of motion around your joints – which yoga provides – will help you lift safely.
Boosted Speed and Power
It’s easy to start lagging in a long yoga session, but strength training can really help. Doing explosive movements like squats and plyometrics not only strengthen your core, but they develop muscle fibers.
These benefits will help reinforce your yoga poses while boosting your speed and power as you move from stance to stance. Essentially, you will feel in greater control of your body.
As previously mentioned, yoga is a major stress reliever, which promotes better emotional health.
Where strength training can shine in a different way is controlling anger and aggression. That’s right – lifting and doing explosive movements helps develop controlled aggression.
When combined with yoga, you’ll end your week feeling in control and relaxed.
Yoga and Strength Training: A Complete Workout For Mind, Body, and Soul
Ultimately, when yoga and strength training are combined, it creates a routine that hits every aspect of your mind, body, and soul.
Not only do you benefit from muscle building, but you also get muscle endurance. Not only do you benefit from balance and flexibility, but you also increase your speed and power.
McClure Fitness prides itself on variety in group classes. We’ve got over 60 classes per week that cover the full spectrum of workout styles.
McClure Fitness Online has organized our classes into programs to help you reach specific goals. We recently added an exclusive program of yoga classes to help you find that balance.