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Weights Vs Yoga?

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.
weightsMany 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…

CALM
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.

STAMINA
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.

MASS
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.

ACCESS
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?
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16 comments:

  1. Great post! I am always wondering this myself. I struggle to find time to do both while marathon training. I always end up going to yoga for the added stretching and injury prevention, but I wish I could do weights as well.

    Thanks for the tips!

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  2. I prefer weight training over yoga; and I love the results I see especially in my arms. I see yoga more as an improvement to my flexibility (although there is a lot of strength stuff involved, jsut not to the same degree).

    I need to do more of both. I'll work on making that more of a focus in the next month or so.

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  3. I would love to be able to incorporate both (I did in my pre-kids life), but as it is, with working 3/4 time and parenting the rest of the time, I have time for two of the three (running, weights and yoga) and because of the way the rec center schedule works, weights beat out yoga for now. I feel my body suffers with the lack of it, so I try to do sun salutations and some other poses on my own, but it's hit or miss. I love classes!

    Oh well, life stages...I'll get lots of time back when they go to elementary school...which is next year....:^)

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  4. My friend teaches yoga and said exactly what you wrote....there is no pulling movements so when she does strength train she tries to incorporate some moves that yoga doesn't hit

    I love to strength train and use yoga more formthe stretch for my running vs strength

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  5. Both is ideal for lots of the reasons already discussed. The most pertinent to me are the flexibility with yoga and concentration needed to maximize the experience and with weights I need targeted strength building for some ailments I have. The "Stonger" I am, the better my ailments are to me.

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  6. this is such an interesting post. I have been trying to find the answer to this for a while. Lately I've been doing only weights, no yoga, and I definitely see better results (not to mention takes less time), but the flexibility and mobility component of yoga feel sooooo good after a hard run. I never know whether to count yoga as a strength day!

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  7. Every time I try yoga, I get injured. Like clockwork. No matter how easy I try to take it.

    Kettlebells, on the other hand, are all fun with no injuries (yet).

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  8. I like both. Yoga makes me feel all calm and extra feminine (though I am all for guys doing it too!), and weight lifting makes me feel extra strong and tough. :)

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  9. I LOVE this post - I have been thinking the same things lately - as I tried yoga Tuesday night, and my arm weights session yesterday was really difficult....I want to be more toned and sleek, but I want to have the power...I try to do yoga once a week, but I might want to up it to two or three days, as I only do weights twice a week.

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  10. I am doing yoga for the first time ever....via the p90x program. That includes yoga, cardio, AND weight lifting. I love it! Ok, the yoga is not easy for me.....but still...

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  11. I definitely incorporate both, but on days when I am sore, I do "stretching" yoga. This can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour of light yoga poses that involve warm-up and more stretching than strength building. Doing just two days a week of weights and one to two days a week of yoga seems ideal for me, otherwise my muscles don't get an adequate break to rebuild!

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  12. Shamefully, I incorporate neither... but I need to!!!

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  13. I do and love both! :)

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  14. Great post! When I get back to being healthy, my perfect week would consist of 3 runs, 1 yoga class and 1-2 strength training sessions. I now see the importance of doing weight training on your legs, especially if you run a lot, to work on the muscles that running doesn't hit as much.

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  15. I've been doing yoga for 5-6 years with weight lifting off and on. This summer, I stepped it up, and added Supreme 90 day, which is similar to p90x. It has made a BIG difference in seeing muscle tone in my arms, legs and even abs. So I believe in BOTH. I could never give up yoga, way too valuable for injury prevention. (I also used myfitnesspal, which certainly helped in being able to uncover some muscle)

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  16. I love yoga - so good for chronic back pain and keeps me running, cycling and swimming! I don't lift as much as I should...

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