Yoga or weights? Weights or yoga? Can you incorporate both in to a good routine or are you better doing one than the other? Will one result in better sculpting your arms, legs, back?
I have been asking myself these questions a lot over the past month. I try to rotate daily between yoga and weights, but a really good yoga session involves a lot of upper body strength and so then it can be hard to have a good weight lifting session the following day.
Many yogi’s recently have been touting the philosophy that “Yoga helps everything, but nothing helps yoga”. Which is true is some respects, but I can’t say that I fully agree. My good cardio allows me to move through the poses without being winded and I know my weight lifting has helped my arms become less resistant to fatigue in many poses…but yes Yoga has also improved every area of my fitness.
All right so what are some of the arguments for and against each…
I know that yoga is portrayed as calm and serene and I do often get that feeling...but let's be honest if you are doing a serious class it's a sweaty nasty mess with lots of loud breathing and thoughts of kill me now. Yoga is a very tough workout and shouldn’t be discounted as less of a workout for your body than weight lifting, but you will likely feel very different doing one over the other.
However, most importantly is that when you are in certain poses your muscles relax and this creates more room for blood to flow, thus attracting more oxygen to your muscles. This results in healing and injury prevention.
It’s true that yoga may help with your muscle stamina. You often hold poses for minutes at a time, where as with weight lifting you simply contract your muscles for a few seconds. So if you have a need to hold something for long periods of time this would be important…say wanting your legs to keep going even when tired in a race or your posture to stay up right while fatigued.
If you like Mr. BMX would prefer to have more muscle mass then weight lifting is likely the answer. Yogi’s have muscles for sure, but they are generally not large and bulky because that hinders a yoga practice and there isn’t a consistent effort to do exercises that would result in bulk. However it should be noted that a recent study showed stretching after lifting weights can increase your power by up to 30% in the coming sessions…more weight, more bulk (at least for guys).
I will also say that while I noticed myself getting stronger during yoga, it wasn’t until I took up weights that I began to see actual muscle definition in my arms.
What about the easy access of yoga? You can download a free podcast or use a DVD in any room in the house. For weight lifting you need a gym or a pretty good set of tools at home. I am a nut job and have access to both because I just never know what I might feel like doing on a given day.
HOW TO COMBINE
Personally, I still believe that I can benefit from both. Now it is a matter of determining how to enjoy both activities in a way that benefits my body. After doing some research I found what makes the most sense to me…since yoga is often about more static poses and longer contractions, weight lifting sessions should be about quicker movements. It should also include movements that you do not get from the yoga practice itself, which would largely be pulling movements such as pull ups, lat pulls, rows or deadlifts.
Where do you stand on yoga vs weightlifting? Do you incorporate both? Have I convinced you yet to try yoga or at least not spend 100% of your time running?
I am grateful for options
I am grateful for opinions
I am grateful for freedom of speech
I am grateful for passionate people
I am grateful for virtual hugs