Combining Yoga and strength training is a smart move.
While so different, they couldn’t go together any better. Yoga and strength training complement each other so well.
Remember, if you just do strength training alone, your muscles will continue to tighten up over the years. It’s important to also address flexibility!
The physical poses and movements from Yoga can be an amazing addition to your workout regime! And in this article, we are going to cover the elements of both. And how they can work together to give you incredible results.
This is a complete guide on how to combine yoga and strength training.
Combining Yoga and Strength Training: Glossary
Here’s a quick nav to what you are going to learn:
- Benefits of Combining Yoga and Strength Training
- Start With Strength
- How to Fit Yoga in With Strength Training
Benefits of combining Yoga and Strength Training
After having an ACL surgery, broken bones, torn ankle ligaments, and years of high-impact lifestyle patterns adding up… I can say I have learned the importance of healing and strengthening my body.
And this is why I love the relationship between strength training and regular yoga practice. They work so well together to help with this.
It’s a balance that requires some thought, mind you. We’ll get into that. But for now, I want to talk about the benefits of combining Yoga and strength training.
These are some of the things I have experienced over the years of incorporating both:
- Incredible bodyweight control
- Total body strength
- Improved flexibility & mobility
- Great posture
- Well-proportioned physique
- Ironed out imbalances
- Enhanced core strength
- Better balance and stability
- Healed and removed aches pains from past injuries
- Better emotional response
- Reduced stress
- Calmer mind
- Improved sexual function
I can keep going… Those are just top of the mind benefits I can say I’ve witnessed over the years.
Strength training itself holds many benefits. Exercising the body strengthens the muscles and bones. Adding in yoga allows you to stretch out those muscles and strengthen the stabilizers often left out in most strength training program designs.
By adding yoga, you are taking a well-rounded approach to your health and fitness. This will pay dividends for how well you move and feel in your body.
Remember, there are over 650 skeletal muscles in the human body.
While the maximal output strength is great, it has its restrictions. And this is why including yoga with weightlifting is a smart move. With yoga, you are not only improving flexibility and mobility. But you are filling in the blanks with your strength training!
Yoga helps strengthen the deep connective tissues. Your local stabilization system gets trained in a unique and incredible way. This enhanced stabilization will do wonders for your PRs. And prevent injuries.
Start With Strength
I always recommend starting with strength.
Firstly, this is where you will be taxing your body the most. And muscle recovery time after weightlifting will be required.
Not only that, but strength requires a consistent volume of increasing resistance. With a frequency that will allow for adaptation. Aka Progressive Overload. Any solid strength program will follow this principle.
You should plan your yoga around strength training goals.
This means, have your workout plan in place. Focus on the strength training. And add in the yoga after workouts and on rest days.
The beauty is, we can fit in yoga classes designed for strength-training workouts (more on that in a moment).
How to Fit Yoga in With Your Strength Training
When mixing combining yoga with fitness training, consider which is more important to you.
Keep in mind: these are two separate practices. And they both require time and discipline to maintain.
You have to determine how many days/hours per week you are going dedicate towards both.
My recommendation is to develop your yoga practice AROUND your weightlifting routine.
Once your workout program is planned out, then layer on the yoga.
As we know, you’ll want to start with your workouts. Then, determine which styles of yoga you are going to practice. And when.
Do you want a slower-paced yoga? One that focuses more on stretching your muscles?
Yin yoga is a great for this.
Or maybe you do want something a little faster paced. Like power or ashtanga yoga. Maybe you do want the 90-minute Bikram classes.
I used to love training earlier in the day, and practicing power yoga in the evening.
And whenever my body was feeling really beat up. From martial arts and/or weightlifting. I opted for Yin yoga classes.
You have to make practicing yoga a habit. And explore different styles.
If you can dedicate every day to it, you will benefit that much more from it. Even if it’s simply a once per week yoga class, that’s plenty, too. I recommend setting a bare minimum. For example, stating you will practice yoga at least once per week.
Remember, I wouldn’t recommend doing yoga before weightlifting. You don’t want to lengthen your muscles out before lifting. And yoga will definitely lengthen your muscles out!
Anytime after is perfect.
That being said, if you wanted to do yoga in the morning, and workout later in the evening, try it out. See how it impacts your training.
It ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and goals.
Remember, combining yoga and strength training comes down to what works best in your schedule. I recommend starting your planning with strength in mind. Have your workout plan in place and focus on tracking results from that.
Next, determine how often you wish to practice yoga. This can be anywhere from 1-to-7 days per week. The only time you shouldn’t is before weightlifting (unless you are doing Yoga in the morning and weightlifting later that day). Use yoga after and/or on rest days.
Then, determine what style(s) of yoga you wish to practice, and how often. Ashtanga, Power, Hatha, Yin, etc. Or maybe something like WithinMVMNT’s Yoga for Weightlifters video classes. Try them all out! Discover what styles you like best.
Ultimately, strength is a more analytical progression. With yoga, it is more intuitive. Set yourself up for success with both by planning and and tracking for strength. And determine the days of the week you are going to dedicate to practicing yoga.
You will find yoga and weightlifting offer the best yin and yang relationship for your health and fitness.
Hope this article helps!