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Does Yoga Count As Strength Training?

Does Yoga Count As Strength Training?

 

Does Yoga Count As Strength Training?


I would love to say yes, but if you can't do a handstand, inversions, or spend time in plank without shaking, you need to rethink your exercise routine.

I get the appeal of Yoga. It's relaxing, it's quirky, it's hip, and it's healthy. But if you're thinking of it as a strength-training workout, you're wrong. Yoga doesn't get your heart rate up, it doesn't build muscle, and it doesn't get your blood flowing.

If you're doing yoga to get in shape, it's time to rethink your exercise routine.




Yoga is not strength training.


Yoga is a cardio activity, not a strength-training workout. Yoga doesn't work your muscles. A strength-training exercise trains your muscles so you can move them, lift them, and do a range of movements, including pulling. In other words, strength training is your body's natural way to carry the weight you are using.


So, what do you do when you're doing Yoga? You move your body through the positions, which teach your body how to move the weight you're using. Your body will build a response, but not the same one that occurs during strength training.


Still not convinced? Take a look at this chart. It shows how a typical yoga class may work a yoga student's muscles.


The routine looks more like a strength-training workout than an exercise routine that will help you get in shape.


Why Yoga Isn't Strength Training


If you think Yoga is a tremendous strength-training exercise, think again. Sure, some yoga postures help improve your flexibility. But the actual physical benefits of Yoga are few and far between.


You'll gain muscle if you work with weights. So if you're doing Yoga to try and gain strength, you'll be wasting your time.


Yoga doesn't strengthen your muscles. In fact, it doesn't support your bones or your joints. I have no doubt that Yoga is beneficial in many ways. It's fantastic for increasing flexibility, relieving stress, and getting rid of aches and pains. But if you're hoping to build muscle, Yoga will not help.


For example, your spine is lengthening if you're doing Downward Dog and breathing. Yet if you do it while holding a dumbbell, your spine remains the same length.


Yoga can cause injury if done incorrectly.


Yoga has a pretty bad rap. And for a good reason. On an average day, people injure their backs doing Yoga. And I don't just mean just from laying on your stomach. I mean from doing the handstand. Inversions are not just dangerous for your back.


Yoga poses are challenging on your knees. I can't count the number of people who have developed knee pain after doing simple poses like Tree, Half Moon, or Tiger.


Yoga poses can place undue stress on your neck and shoulders. Most of us don't stretch our necks like we should. And when you try to hold a handstand, it's easy to inadvertently be tensed in your neck and shoulders. This can lead to aches and possibly even stress fractures.


The list of injuries goes on and on.


Why is Yoga not helpful for fitness?


1. How many people do Yoga for strength?


Most yoga classes aren't called "power yoga." Or "heavy power yoga."


Yoga is about moving through your muscles, like swimming, biking, or running. So you shouldn't be looking to balance your trapezius or core. You're in a downward dog for 90 seconds, so you'll need your core muscles.


To truly improve strength and endurance, you need to be lifting weights.


"When you do a yoga practice, you're holding some poses and allowing the stretch to happen. In strength training, you're trying to stimulate the muscle, causing it to be tired and fatigued, so it can accept the muscle and strengthen it," Joseph Siclari, a former yoga instructor and co-founder of the Canyon Ranch Institute, told Men's Health.


Improves Cardio and Lung Function


When done correctly, Yoga is an excellent workout for your heart and lungs. It helps maintain a regular heart rate and clears your lungs, improving their capacity for oxygen and pushing them to work harder and burn more fat.


This study even went so far as to say that these health benefits far outweigh the risks of Yoga.


If you're going to do Yoga, choose a method that limits jumping and twisting and uses as little vinyasa as possible to keep the heart rate down and your blood pressure low.


Cuts A Lot Of Calories


I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of calorie burning as a way to exercise. There's no doubt that exercise burns calories, but it doesn't burn more calories than a sedentary lifestyle.


Why You Should Strength Train


Stronger muscles translate to stronger bones, which means better bone health, which translates to a better self-image, better self-esteem, and better health overall.


When you look at it this way, strength training is the most important thing you can do for your body. But that doesn't mean it should be the only thing you do.


You must train your body in balance. Strength training builds up more than just your muscles. It builds up your nervous system, improves your posture, promotes digestion, helps slim your waist, improves your bowel movements, improves your mental agility, can help with sleep, and builds social connections.


In other words, strength training does more than make your body stronger.


Workouts for beginners


Warm-up!


Any workout that gets you moving and sweating needs a short warm-up. Grab a yoga mat (I prefer the thick foam ones from Amazon), and try to be mindful of where your knees and ankles will be. Your feet will get tired in the end, and that's not good.


I'll typically do a series of side lunges and a side lunge with a hop simultaneously. Start with a quarter of a mile (or shorter), and then if you feel like it, add another quarter mile or two.


Do pushups.


You're already working on your core, and since that's an area that your training needs to be based on for strength, you need to make sure you're doing pushups correctly.


Workouts for intermediates


Isometric strength training


How to find it:


Go to the gym and watch people at the weight area. If there are many grunting guys doing cable pulldowns or power cleans, that's an isometric strength routine.


These are bodyweight exercises (i.e., no machines or other equipment are used), which require you to move around in tiny increments. A great example of an isometric strength workout is planks. You lie face-up on the floor with your hands behind your head to plank. Keep your legs straight. Start with your elbows on foot, do 10 pushups, then do 10 pull-ups, etc. Your heart rate will get up, and your muscles will get a good workout, but it's not an aerobic exercise.


FAQs


Q: Does Yoga count as strength training?


A: No, not unless you can do a handstand, inversions, or spend time in plank without shaking. I don't mean to take the fun out of Yoga, but you won't get stronger if you neglect other types of exercises. Besides, most yogis would say different kinds of strength training count.


Q: Can I combine my standard exercise routine with Yoga?


A: Most yoga practitioners would say you should stick to Yoga. But if you do it just for the core benefits, you can enjoy the yoga-based routines created by expert yoga teachers.


Q: Why does Yoga not raise my heart rate?


A: Yoga does not get your heart rate up. You're resting in the lord's pose with every breath you take.


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