Yoga and muscle building: When we hear the term yoga, we have images in our mind of people who are meditating, contorting, or in total relaxation. When they hear the word muscle building, most people probably first think of the (often unloved) gym, lifting weights, protein shakes, and pumped-up muscles. But yoga can truly do more for the body than just relax. With the right asanas, you can also build muscles, strengthen your body or optimally complement your strength training.
Strength training doesn’t always mean a gym, and that’s why it’s worth combining a gym and a yoga mat.
Yoga and muscle building – it’s all in the mix
At the gym
Strength training or targeted muscle building not only helps us have a good figure but also promotes the hormones that make us happy, self-confident, and fit. When you think of strength training, you often have the repeated lifting of weights in mind. The fact is that regular strength training is the basis for muscle growth. Of course, you don’t see success on the first day, but after a few months. That’s why it’s important that you stick with it and don’t give up straight away, no matter what form you do your strength training in.
When it comes to strength training, a well-known comrade quickly creeps in: the bastard. As a result, many people go to the gym motivated and, unfortunately, give up just as quickly. But let me tell you:
Once you are “in” with the training, it can be great fun, and the motivation to get stronger increases quickly.
But you should also not overdo it and run to the fitness or yoga studio every day. It only leads to pain and is counterproductive for the muscles. The muscles also need their rest, so you should regularly include regeneration days in your training. Your own fitness and health should always be in the foreground. Instead of a feeling of elation, only frustration and resentment sets in. Thus, you definitely don’t feel like pursuing your training anymore.
It is also important to work on your weaknesses. For example, you might enjoy working out your legs more, but you shouldn’t neglect the other parts of your body, such as your arms. Incidentally, one-sided training of the muscles over a long period of time can lead to muscle shortening with long-term consequences.
Our muscles use a lot of energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week!
In general, there are two things to remember when doing strength training: If you want to get ‘stronger,’ repeat the exercises slowly. This is because it creates continuous muscle tension and must work properly. But if you want to build up muscles quickly, then the pace should be faster and more rhythmic.
In the gym, the priority is to put all your strength into one moment and to challenge the muscles to the maximum. However, if you look at strength training in yoga, the focus is more on endurance and flexibility.
Yoga and muscle building: In the yoga studio
Yoga focuses on the whole body, i.e., breathing, muscles, body, and mind are trained. This is exactly the optimal basis for targeted strength training with weights. Those who know how to relax can concentrate on the exercises and are less under ‘permanent tension.’ In addition, anyone who stretches regularly with yoga has well-perfused musculature, which is extremely advantageous when lifting weights and reduces the risk of injury.
As mentioned before, the muscles need rest and only grow during the rest phase. These days, yoga is an excellent alternative to stretch muscles and relax the body and mind. Stretching increases the efficiency of the muscles, and they tire more slowly. Accordingly, yoga is also suitable for endurance sports as an additional supplement to the actual training. Unlike lifting weights, yoga strengthens the core muscles. The power from the ‘deep’ is, in turn, the basis for muscle building with weights. If you suffer from weak deep muscles, you will automatically train incorrectly in strength training. Yoga strengthens body awareness, which should be indispensable for targeted strength training and even in everyday life. If you spend your time at your desk like a sip of water, you will eventually suffer from back pain. And if you lift the weights incorrectly in the gym or with a hunched back, you will also experience pain.
Of course, some asanas can make you sweat. Ashtanga yoga, in particular, is probably the most strenuous type of yoga and specifically trains the muscles.
Take a look at these asanas:
- The Chair pose – Utkatasana
- The Locust – Shalabhasana
- The side plank
In summary, one can say that yoga and muscle building may not yet produce the largest muscles but train many different aspects that are completely ignored in strength training with weights and are, therefore, an ideal supplement to training. So don’t be afraid to try yoga; combine it with your strength training in the gym or use it specifically for strength and endurance training.
Do you use yoga to complement strength training? Or do you completely replace the gym with yoga?