During the summer months, we tend to turn towards other training methods to help keep our bodies strong and in peak beach condition.
There is definitely something to be said for spending hours in the gym sculpting muscles and getting that feel-good, post-workout feel, but just remember not to let your yoga practice fall too far to the wayside.
Yoga is amazing to help balance out the effects of a weight-training regimen. Here are just five reasons why all weight-lifting gym bunnies need yoga in their lives.
1. Reduces and/or Prevents Injury
One of the greatest gifts that yoga offers is injury reduction/prevention. Many people who weight train can tend to restrict their range of motion particularly in the shoulders, lower back and hips.
Shortened and tight muscles cause restricted range of motion, reduce the functionality of the joints, and most of all, cause the loss of joint alignment which creates immense wear and tear — accounting for a lot of the stiffness, tightness and pain people feel.
Yoga offers the opportunity to balance out this shortening of the muscles and encourage stabilisation of the joints. Yoga for weight trainers can also greatly improve range of motion, meaning that your training will actually benefit in the long run.
2. Creates and Improves Balance
Many people also don't realize (until injury or pain start to make themselves known) that they are also extremely imbalanced in their body, with the shorter, stronger muscles constantly overcompensating for the long, weak muscles.
This causes even more imbalance over time, and muscle imbalance is one of the leading causes of injuries.
A yoga practice will very quickly and easily help you to identify which parts of your body are out of balance, overworked, too tight or too weak and offer you the ability to be able to correct this and bring your body back into a place of balance.
3. Improves Posture and Form
Many weightlifting injuries are a result of bad posture and incorrect form. A yoga practice will help you to not only become aware of, but also greatly improve, your posture over time.
This in turn will help you to keep up with correct techniques in your weight training routine, once more reducing the risk of over work or injuries. Many people have little or no understanding of their bodies on a daily basis and how they are holding certain body parts in tension.
Slouching or slumping and this same lack of awareness all factor into a weight training routine — meaning that these same bad postural habits can be an injury waiting to happen. As you practice yoga and build awareness of your body and posture, your weight training will transform.
4. Boosts Breathing
People can tend to hold the breath during weight training without even realizing it, especially when the going gets tough! This is where yoga can come to the rescue.
The breath work taught in yoga can help you become more aware of, and present in, the breath. Learning to breathe more with the abdomen rather than the chest also really helps to increase recovery time between sets and helps keep the mind clear and focused on the task ahead.
Proper breathing can also help to bring much-needed oxygen into the body and most of all to the muscles, as they need it to grow and repair. Bringing us to the next point…
5. Relaxes and Repairs
Finally yoga will help you with the building of muscle by aiding recovery time and repair of the muscles. In yoga, the muscles stretch and relax – allowing increased blood flow to the muscles.
This, in turn, brings in more oxygen to the body and allows the muscles to heal and grow stronger. Deepening the breath in yoga, we also learn to relax more and find balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to recover much more quickly and effectively.
Yoga will also help you become much more aware of yourself, your energy levels, and how your body feels on each day. This will make it easier for you to know when you are able to push yourself in your weight training and when to back off and allow yourself to take things a little easier.
I hope this helps you to see how yoga and weight training are perfect partners in crime! Think yoga is too "slow"? There's a style and pace of yoga for weight trainers and lifters just like you!
Has yoga helped your weight training (or vice versa)? Share your thoughts and comments below!