Yoga and Weight Training— A Perfect Combination
Lifting weights reduces muscle flexibility and shortens muscle fibers. Over time, workout routines devoted exclusively to weight training increase the chances of injuries to weightlifters. Regular yoga practice elongates the muscles, relieves muscle soreness, increases strength and endurance, and keeps the body supple and mobile. In other words, benefits of yoga counteract the harmful effects of weight lifting.
The mental benefits of yoga complement those of weightlifting. Both activities require concentration, balance, strength, and commitment to form. Yoga’s emphasis on calming the mind by linking breath to movement can help weightlifters achieve greater focus during their weight training, possibly resulting in increased strength gains and fewer injuries.
If you’re a weightlifter interested in incorporating yoga into your workout schedule, there’s no shortage of good yoga studios in New York City, as well as South Florida. You might consider beginning with two yoga classes a week, taking each on a non-weight training day. Weight training can be complemented very well with Yoga poses, but you need to be careful when you combine these practices in order to avoid over training and tissue fatigue. Your overall program should vary depending on the level of weight training, the timing of training and the type of Yoga you wish to do.
Meditation can be done daily. Doing meditation first thing in the morning or at the end of the day is ideal. Morning meditation enhances your ability to move through the day. Evening meditation is great for mental cleansing of the day’s stresses and will help you achieve a more sound sleep pattern.
Meditation is greatly enhanced by doing Yoga, as the postures release tension, calm the nervous system, and help establish a meditation posture that is both comfortable and with proper energy alignment
If you are doing weight training 3 days per week, you can easily create a program with proper rest periods to allow for muscle tissue recovery.
If you do Yoga on the same day as your training days, select a Yoga practice for that day that targets the same muscle groups as your weight training workout. This way, you are continuing the progressive overload needed for sustaining and enhancing musculoskeletal health. The Yoga practice should be done after the weight training session so that cooling stages of the practice help release lactic acid build up from the weight training and condition your muscles and joints to maintain range of motion and mobility.
If you prefer to do Yoga on the days between your weight training sessions, then you should avoid practices that repeat loading of muscles just worked the day before with weights. You need to let these muscles recover for a good 48 hours.
You train your chest and quadriceps on Monday with weights. You either 1) do a vigorous flow like vinyas which is a yoga that incorporates multiple pushup transitions (chest and triceps) and standing poses (quadriceps) on this day, or 2) do a core based practice the next day that concentrates on the abdominal muscles and back therefore avoiding any intense loading of the limbs involving the chest and quadriceps.
Also keep in mind that weight training leaves a temporary residual ‘fatigue’ in the muscles that can affect the performance in your Yoga practice especially for practices that involve poses requiring endurance and/or strength-based transitions
As a weightlifter, if you commit to yoga and practice regularly, you can prevent weightlifting-related injuries and transform yourself into a stronger, healthier and calmer individual in all walks of life, including the weight room.