When paired together (whether it be practicing both in the same session or just in the same week), yoga and strength training can be a powerful cross-training combination that supports multiple aspects of your physical and mental health.
Physically, yoga supports your body in so many ways - from balance to flexibility to posture - while strength training increases musculature, bone density, and more.
Mentally, yoga can relieve stress and improve mental health. Strength training contributes to greater mental energy and focus.
Beyond their individual uses, yoga and strength training also have a unique set of combined rewards that you can experience by regularly practicing both!
Let’s break it down:
Health Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is an ancient system of practices that includes exercise, breathwork, and meditation – an incredible combination that creates a more balanced mind and body. By practicing yoga, you can see countless benefits to your health and wellness:
- Stress relief and improved mental health
- Increased balance
- Improved flexibility and joint mobility
- Pain relief from muscle tightness
- Improved posture
- Increased bone density
- Increased blood flow
- Improved immune function from lymph node drainage
After hearing these benefits, it’s no wonder so many people want to find ways to incorporate yoga into their life. But if you’re a little intimidated by yoga, no worries - seeing and feeling the results of yoga doesn’t mean doing it every single day for several hours on end. In fact, according to a 2014 study, even doing one hour yoga class per week for five weeks can make you more balanced.
Additionally, there are numerous types of yoga to participate in, and all of them can help your health and wellness. While many only know Vinyasa yoga (yoga movements and postures coordinated with your breath), you can also enjoy Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Kundalini, Yin, Restorative, and Prenatal to name a few!
If you’re pressed for time or not feeling up to practicing physical yoga, you may also engage in Pranayama yoga, which relies solely on breathing techniques. Along those same lines, meditation is an excellent way to harness some of yoga’s mental benefits without even moving your body.
However you decide to add yoga to your life, you can trust that it will positively impact your well-being!
Health Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training - also known as resistance exercise - is when muscles work against a weight or force in order to ultimately increase their strength.
As you get stronger over time, you may notice that strength training becomes easier, daily activities that require you to be strong become more effortless, and even that your body composition changes.
Similar to yoga, strength training has its own comprehensive list of benefits:
- Decreased anxiety
- Improved strength and musculature
- Boosted metabolism
- Increased blood flow
- Increased bone density
- Better life expectancy
- Reduced risk of falling in elderly populations
Even just two to five days per week of strength training can support your health! Depending on what you want to improve in, there are several training methods to support your goals:
- For muscle power: Plyometrics, eccentric phase-focused weight training, strength moves with less rest time between sets
- For muscle strength: Lifting weights with a progressive load, calisthenics, and powerlifting
- For muscle stabilization: Isometric workouts like planks and barre
- For muscular endurance: Circuit training and HIIT
If you only want to choose one - yoga or strength training - you can rest assured that both give you great benefits in terms of your overall health. However, including some of each in your routine has a unique, blended effect that should be taken into consideration.
Yoga Benefits for Strength Training
Practicing yoga regularly can actually optimize your strength training efforts as well. The term for using one form of exercise to improve another is known as cross-training, which subjects your muscles and joints to different scenarios to prevent imbalances. Let's break down some of the benefits:
Less Muscle Soreness
Combining yoga and strength training allows for a noticeable reduction in Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). This makes sense – your muscles are properly worked out, stretched, and flexible! As you continue your regular workouts, you may find that you feel less and less pain and tenderness in your muscles, and more and more energy to train for longer.
Increased Range of Motion
Another advantage of doing yoga and strength training is an increased range of motion. When you do too many of the same exercises, your muscles do very well at those specific movements and become less efficient at performing other movements. Yoga will contribute to a greater range of motion in your strength training so you can lift, press, or push at different angles, speeds, and levels of power.
Enhanced Breathing During Workouts
Last but not least, both the breathwork and muscular endurance made possible by yoga can help with strength training. You may notice, for instance, that you breathe better during a strenuous weightlifting session because you’ve become used to properly breathing through your yoga poses.
Not only will these yoga benefits support you during strength training workouts, they’ll also add to your health with long term results, such as less injuries and better blood pressure!
H2: Strength Training Benefits for Yoga
In parallel to the wonderful benefits of yoga with strength training, strength training will also advance your yoga! Here’s how:
More Advanced Yoga Poses
Strength training will inevitably increase how strong you are. As you get stronger and stronger through strength training, you’ll find you're more able to stay in and flow through your yoga postures. There will also be more opportunity - by way of your greater strength - for you to safely attempt advanced yoga poses.
Less Pulls and Strains
Stronger muscles are harder to pull or strain during even the most difficult poses. With the addition of strength training, you will be less likely to hurt yourself during some of the more difficult physical aspects of yoga.
More Balance, More Focus
Due to the heavy nature of weighed objects, those who do strength training are able to develop more balance in their bodies as well as a certain discipline that comes with carefully moving weights around. Your balanced body and focused mind that come from strength training will naturally translate to better yoga sessions.
Your Next Level of Strength, Flexibility, and Learning
It’s clear that yoga and strength training work go hand in hand (and honestly, some types of yoga can even be considered strength training itself). It’s no surprise why fitness fusion classes such as yoga-barre and others have been trending for years.
We truly hope this has helped you on your health journey, and as you go deeper into your relationship with yoga and strength training (remember, even just a few times a week of both can work together in your healthiest favor), you may want to learn even more about holistic health. We offer a collection of world-renowned courses geared towards your highest physical and mental wellness – so be sure to check them out!