Do you love doing yoga, but you’re wondering if you need to do something more to build up your strength? The answer depends on your individual fitness goals.
Yoga and other exercises that use your bodyweight can be a great way to tone and strengthen your muscles. On the other hand, if you want to look like a bodybuilder, you’re probably going to need to lift weights.
As you’re planning your workouts, think about how you can use yoga on its own or in combination with other activities.
Use these tips to design a routine that will enhance your strength and overall fitness:
Using Yoga for Strength Training
1. Read class descriptions. Different forms of yoga have their own unique benefits so choose a style that’s focused on strength. Look for Vinyasa and Ashtanga sessions, as well as power yoga classes.
2. Increase repetitions. You build strength by gradually intensifying your workouts. That may mean doing a longer series of sun salutations, as well as standing poses and inversions.
3. Hold poses longer. You can also increase resistance by remaining in a pose for additional seconds or minutes. This type of isometric training is especially useful for maintaining strength and stabilizing joints.
4. Check your form. To stay safe, start with basic poses where you can learn correct alignment. Use props like straps and blocks if you need them.
5. Rest up. Excessive workouts actually weaken your muscles. Take at least one day off from vigorous activity each week and make sleep a priority.
6. Eat well. Nourish your body with whole foods. In particular, consuming protein within two hours of working out may help build muscles.
Supplementing Yoga for Strength Training
1. Practice Pilates. Yoga and Pilates feature many similar movements, and the teachers at your studio may blend the two. It can be a big help with firming up your core.
2. Try CrossFit. For endurance and strength, sign up for CrossFit. This challenging workout will teach you a variety of movements using equipment or just your body weight.
3. Climb a wall. Indoor climbing facilities have been spreading across the country. It’s a fun way to tone your whole body and maybe prepare for an outdoor expedition.
4. Train to fight. If you’re already in top shape, you might be ready for boxing or Mixed Martial Arts. It’s one way to make fast gains in upper and lower body strength.
5. Buy resistance bands. For inexpensive equipment that’s easy to take with you on business trips, order some resistance bands. You can use them to intensify many simple floor exercises for your whole body.
6. Lift weights. Barbells, dumbbells, and weight machines may be the first thing you think of for strength training, and they deserve their popularity. You can design a program with so much variety that it will maintain your interest and keep giving your body new challenges to overcome.
7. Pace yourself. High intensity interval training will make any routine more effective. That’s where you alternate between short bursts of hard work and slightly longer intervals of gentler activity. It’s also ideal for busy schedules because you can achieve greater results while spending less time at the gym.
Strength training is an important part of working out because it thickens your bones, boosts your metabolism, and may even enhance your mental health.
Schedule at least two strength training sessions a week using yoga or other activities you enjoy and talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about how to design a safe program for you.