Strength Training and Yoga — Birds of a Feather?

It’s easy to mix up fitness terms. For instance, a lot of my clients confuse strength training with weight training. Then they ask me if yoga counts as strength training. So I thought I would address how all these relate, offering you a more comprehensive fitness picture.

Experts advise doing some form of strength training at least twice a week to keep metabolism running efficiently, and many doctors recommend weight training as a preventive measure against bone loss. For many of us, this conjures a vision of becoming an eternal slave to weight machines, dumbbells or resistance cords. Truth is, yoga taps on strength as well, since you are putting your body in positions and orientations that you ultimately have to support with your muscles, essentially lifting weights.

I don’t like focusing on how yoga can sculpt your physique. I’d rather you focused on yoga as a way of thinking, feeling and being, versus being preoccupied with perfecting your appearance. Yes, you can increase muscle tone and definition (and even muscle size) with yoga. But because you’re limited to “lifting” your own body weight, it may take a lot more skill, time and determination than it would simply lifting weights.

If all you’re looking to do is build muscle, it’s fair to say that weight training is a more practical approach. Basically, your muscles and bones must be constantly challenged to keep developing. With traditional weight training, as your muscles adapt to the resistance and get stronger, you have to add more weight to achieve the same results. With weight training, theoretically you can continue to grow the size and strength of your muscles forever — as long as you continue to add weight. But while “bulking up” may be the goal for many men, it’s rarely a woman’s dream. That’s why yoga is a more balanced way to do strength training.

What many of my fitness and even my yoga students fail to realize is that a regular yoga practice can reduce the risk of injury and condition to the body, enabling them to perform better at things they do every day. This ultimately makes it a form of functional fitness. This includes walking, sitting, twisting, bending, and lifting things. It moves your body in the ways it was designed to move because both large and small muscles are used in many directions and not just back and forth on a one-dimensional plane, as in the motion of a bicep curl or leg lift.

For more information on fitness, strength training, and how yoga poses can aid in your overall quest, be sure to call me at 916.715.8377, or email me at [email protected] With dozens of fitness and yoga certifications under my belt while possessing an unending thirst for more knowledge, I have made fitness and yoga my life. I stand ready to help you achieve your fitness goals in any way I can.

Posted in Andi Redden Yoga