How could it work?
Range of motion - Having a wide range of motion is essential for progression in weightlifting. Range of motion is how capable your joint is to go through the full spectrum of movement. Not only does it increase time under tension (the time your muscle is contracted under a weight stimulus) but also allows you to play with different depths in your compound and accessory lifts. This can help you to make moves on a range of weightlifting movements, giving you the option to target different muscles. Take your squat for example - range of motion in the hips allows you going below parallel to hit the hamstrings and glutes, while a traditional parallel squat will build your quads.
Yoga’s combination of static stretches fluid movements helps to increase your range of motion across the body - from shoulders to hips. Unlike stretching which often is done as an afterthought or on a ‘cold’ body, yoga facilitates a more cohesive way to increase your range of motion.
Flexibility - Flexibility is a key component of many fitness movements, like the Romanian Deadlift. These moves are hamstring-focused and require adequate flexibility. Yoga has become widely known as an effective way to improve flexibility, and it works by connecting the mind and breath. As you practice and focus on peacefulness and deep breathing, muscles can better stretch and retain their position. This is similar to progressive overload in weightlifting.
Strength - Yoga may appear to be a gentle exercise; however, it can help to build your bodyweight strength. Many of the poses necessitate strength and control in muscles and postures unfamiliar to weightlifting. Unlike other workouts, yoga works on the body as an entirety, often with more extended periods of tension. Holding these postures for a longer duration and the novel movement patterns they’re paired with have the potential to target muscles in new ways while also improving tone.
Core activation - The range of movements featured in a standard yoga class encourages good core strength. Plank is a common exercise used as a gateway to the next move. During class, core-focused work such as crunches, toe touches, knee to elbow variations, and other plank variations may be included. Core activation is necessary in compound lifts and many accessories, as it helps to support the back and properly target specific muscles. 'Bracing your core' is a phrase you may have heard in this context.
Bringing it into your training
If you are looking for a comprehensive workout routine that can help you improve your physical and mental health, then combining strength training and yoga is a great option.
Here are some specific examples of how yoga can help you improve your functional strength all you will need is a yoga mat
- Warrior pose: This pose helps you develop strength in your legs, core, and arms. It also improves your balance and coordination.
- Plank pose: This pose helps you build core strength and endurance. It also improves your posture and stability.
- Downward-facing dog pose: This pose helps you stretch your hamstrings, calves, and shoulders. It also improves your range of motion and flexibility.
- Bridge pose: This pose helps you build strength in your glutes, hamstrings, and core. It also improves your posture and balance.
If you are new to yoga, it is important to start with beginner poses and gradually work your way up to more challenging poses. It is also important to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard. With regular practice, you will start to see and feel the benefits from yoga with your strength training.