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Yoga & Weight Training: A Beautiful Partnership

June 27, 2022 4 min read

Whether you’re a yoga lover looking to build strength to advance your asana practice, or a dedicated gym-goer looking to increase flexibility, there are tremendous benefits that can come from making time for both yoga and strength training. Rather than one being superior to the other, both offer unique and complementary benefits, contributing to a supportive routine that benefits both body and mind.

Why is it important to do both yoga and strength training?

Yoga as a physical practice is a terrific way to increase flexibility and mobility. Depending on the style of yoga you practice, there will also be a moderate to significant opportunity to build strength and muscular endurance. As a bodyweight-only exercise, yoga can facilitate a stronger mind-body connection, and help the practitioner to connect with their natural movement patterns.

First and foremost, weight training can help to build muscle mass. As we age our muscle mass naturally decreases, however by implementing strength and resistance training, we can help to combat this. It can also increase bone density and joint flexibility, thereby reducing future risk of fractures and symptoms of arthritis. Using resistance in your training can also help to build better balance, which can in turn benefit your yoga practice.

How do yoga and weight training complement each other?  

Individually, they each have their benefits, but together, weight training and yoga become a beautiful partnership. One picks off where the other leaves off, and together they can help you to create an optimal balance between strength and flexibility.

Yoga & Weight Training: A beautiful partnership

Why is it important to do both yoga and strength training?

Yoga as a physical practice is a terrific way to increase flexibility and mobility. Depending on the style of yoga you practice, there will also be a moderate to significant opportunity to build strength and muscular endurance. As a bodyweight-only exercise, yoga can facilitate a stronger mind-body connection, and help the practitioner to connect with their natural movement patterns.

First and foremost, weight training can help to build muscle mass. As we age our muscle mass naturally decreases, however by implementing strength and resistance training, we can help to combat this. It can also increase bone density and joint flexibility, thereby reducing future risk of fractures and symptoms of arthritis. Using resistance in your training can also help to build better balance, which can in turn benefit your yoga practice.

How do yoga and weight training complement each other?  

Individually, they each have their benefits, but together, weight training and yoga become a beautiful partnership. One picks off where the other leaves off, and together they can help you to create an optimal balance between strength and flexibility.

One of the key movement patterns missing from the typical yoga practice is pull strength. For all the time we spend on our mat pushing into our hands, or pressing our feet into the floor, there aren’t many opportunities to pull through the upper or lower body. This can lead to postural and strength imbalances. Weight training creates the opportunity to balance this. Using targeted exercises such as bent over rows and reverse flys can work parts of the posterior chain that may be neglected during yoga.

How strength training benefits yoga :

  • Reduces injury potential
  • Can help progress to advanced asanas
  • Improves muscular endurance and isolation

How yoga benefits strength training :

  • Greater flexibility and range of motion
  • Quicker and more complete recovery
  • Improved posture and better balance
How Yoga Benefits Strength Training

What is the best way to combine yoga and strength training?  

It’s important to note that yoga practices come in many shapes and forms. Certain styles such as Vinyasa, Hatha flow, Ashtanga and Bikram, are quite physical and strengthening in nature. Other forms of practice like yin or restorative yoga tend to be less physically demanding, and designed primarily for fostering relaxation and increasing flexibility.

With that in mind, it’s important to factor in rest and recovery time when planning out your ideal yoga and weight training workout split. If you are brand new to strength training, start small and focus on consistency. Opt for 1-2 full body strength training sessions using weights for resistance. As you become more comfortable in the gym or with other strength training formats, you can work up to 4-5 sessions a week, depending on your specific goals. Consider sandwiching your strength training sessions with more restorative forms of yoga and allowing yourself a day away from the gym to rest to prepare for a more physical yoga practice.

Should you do yoga before or after a workout?

Generally, the best order to combine weight training and yoga, would be to train strength first, followed by yoga. The primary reason for this is muscle fatigue. After a more physical yoga practice that involves longer holds and deep stretches, your muscles may temporarily be weaker, which can hinder your performance at the gym. By strength training first, you can maximize your muscular output and enjoy a complimentary more restorative type of yoga practice after.

Victoria Maybee l Mukha Yoga
By Victoria Maybee; All Rights Reserved @2022

Victoria Maybee l Mukha YogaBy Victoria Maybee; All Rights Reserved @2022