Here in the west, we enjoy yoga for its health and relaxation benefits. Each posture help to stretch the practitioner’s muscles and improves flexibility while improving strength. Despite the benefits yoga has in regards to strength training, not as many men practice yoga as do women. Regular yoga practice helps improve athletic performance by allowing the practitioner to maintain a better range of motion and helps to prevent injury. Yoga stretches also aids in the muscle recovering process and eases post-workout soreness, and is a great form of athletic conditioning. Yoga doesn’t only include a wide range of stretches but also a range of standing, and balancing poses that help strengthen the muscles, which gives many yogis their lean toned look. Many men don’t believe that yoga can be challenging or offer them any real benefits in regards to muscle building, especially when tested against tradition weightlifting. But how does yoga compare to traditional strength training?
Well guys for starters, yoga is strength training.Yoga will help you tone muscles all over the body with poses that demand a wide range of motion. Each posture requires the uses of multiple muscle groups while most traditional forms of strength training use isolated movements to target a specific muscle group to encourage growth. Yoga requires you to twist your body into positions and orientations that require a lot of strength from your muscles in order to support you. In other words, you must lift your own body weight similarly to calisthenic exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges. Each posture will challenge your muscles and while there are some movements like pull-ups that yoga lacks by simply adding those movements into your routine it can further help you to maintain your physique. But can yoga replace traditional strength training?
Well, that depends on what you would like to accomplish. Yoga, like all bodyweight exercises, does present a few limitations. If you want to bulk up then it is best to lift heavier weights progressively. With progressive resistance, your body has to work harder and will continue to grow in size and strength in order to lift heavier and heavier weights. With bodyweight workouts, it gets much easier to hit a plateau because your muscles are no longer being challenged. With weight lifting, it is much easier to prevent this by increasing the intensity of a workout, all you need to do is add more weight.
Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t add some resistance to your yoga routine. By simply including the use of a resistance band in your practice you can help stimulate muscle growth by add tension into your non-traditional yoga routine. A single set of resistance bands comes with a variety of different colored bands each with different levels of resistance. While some level of progressive overload can be achieved with the inclusion of bands into ones routine, the level of resistance these bands supply is finite, unlike free weights. One other method of increasing the difficulty of your yoga workouts is to include the use of body weights like ankle and wrist weights and weighted vests to offset your stability. In short, by applying the principles of progressive overload into your practice, you can be on your way to having a better, more muscular physique.