Mindful Movement: Combining Yoga And Strength Training For A Balanced Fitness Routine

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In terms of fitness, you might view yoga and strength training as polar opposites. After all, one works to stretch your muscles to improve flexibility and relieve pain, while the other damages and contracts them. Although they seem contradictory, the truth is that these two forms of exercise perfectly complement each other to create a balanced and well-rounded fitness routine.
Why You Should Combine Yoga and Strength Training
Why You Should Combine Yoga And Strength Training
Simply put: strength training takes a toll on your body. Although it is beneficial in many ways, it is also tough on your joints, creates microtears in your muscles, and requires a great deal of energy. Focusing solely on strength training will cause your muscles to tighten up over time, so it’s important to address flexibility to counteract the damage caused by strength training.

If you’ve only ever done yoga, the thought of starting a strength training routine can feel daunting. Yoga does help build muscle using your own body weight, however it comes with limitations. The only way to get significant, transformative results is to add in some heavier lifting to build muscle faster and more effectively.

Just as yoga helps to offset some of the damage caused by strength training, building muscle can help alleviate some common ailments that affect those who regularly practice yoga such as muscular imbalances and shoulder pain. Similarly, a sports podiatrist may recommend yoga to strengthen feet or lower limbs that can cause issues during high-impact activities.

Healing and restoring your body is just as important as building strength and muscle. While strength training helps to strengthen your bones and muscles, yoga improves your flexibility, range of motion, and strengthens your deep connective tissues. What one lacks, the other provides, which is what makes these forms of exercise such a dynamic duo.
How to Combine Yoga and Strength Training
How To Combine Yoga And Strength Training
Since both strength training and yoga are their own separate practices, it’s best to keep them that way. Ideally, you would dedicate specific days to yoga, while the others will be spent focusing on building strength. If you need to do both on the same day, you may want to choose a gentler, slower-paced option such as Yin yoga to help stretch and restore your muscles after a more intense weightlifting session.

On the other hand, if you are accustomed to lifting heavy weights and struggle with your range of motion or flexibility, you may feel intimidated jumping into a full-fledged yoga practice. If this resonates with you, you can always start slow by using yoga poses as a great warmup before your strength training sessions. Choose poses that will help activate your muscles, and try to avoid more restorative poses if using them before a workout. Restorative poses are better suited for a post-workout cooldown session to stretch and relax your muscles. Alternatively, you can practice yoga on rest days to support your body as it works on healing and restoration.
The contradictory nature of yoga and strength training is exactly what makes them work so well together. The best way to incorporate both of them into your workout routine is to do what works best for your body and schedule. Use your intuition and listen to your body to find your fitness yin and yang.

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