Can Yoga Replace Strength Training?

Will Yoga Provide the Benefits of Strength Training?

Yoga has quickly become one of the best ways to tone the body. It’s not as rough on the body as some types of activities – such as jogging is on the knees. It works effectively to help with weight loss, improve muscle tone, and build stronger muscles. The question is, then, can yoga be effective enough at strength training to replace other methods such as weightlifting? Whether you are a yoga teacher or investing in yoga training, it’s worth it to take a closer look at what yoga can do for the body when it comes to strength improvement.

What Is Strength Training?

To know if yoga is a viable solution to replace strength training, it’s important to define what strength training is. Generally, the goal of this type of exercise is to increase muscle power and performance. This may involve the use of various tools such as weights or resistance bands. It is often done with a focus on reps and increasing weight.

However, strength building is also possible by using the body’s weight and gravity. This is the way in which yoga fits into the picture.

The Importance of Flexibility in Strength Training

One of the misconceptions of strength training is that it is all about weights. However, without enough flexibility, it’s simply not possible to get the highest level of results possible. The more flexible a person is, the more profound muscle building can be.

Yoga supports this goal. Many of the postures performed in yoga are called isometric exercises. That means that once in a specific position, the user contracts the muscle and holds it for a fixed amount of time without changing the length of the muscle. Yoga helps to improve muscle flexibility, doing this while also building stronger muscles.

That’s not to say every type of yoga exercise is going to create the same type of outcome for the user. It’s essential to use muscle-building yoga exercises specifically to gain this benefit.

The Importance of Flexibility in Strength Training

One of the misconceptions of strength training is that it is all about weights. However, without enough flexibility, it’s simply not possible to get the highest level of results possible. The more flexible a person is, the more profound muscle building can be.

Yoga supports this goal. Many of the postures performed in yoga are called isometric exercises. That means that once in a specific position, the user contracts the muscle and holds it for a fixed amount of time without changing the length of the muscle. Yoga helps to improve muscle flexibility, doing this while also building stronger muscles.

That’s not to say every type of yoga exercise is going to create the same type of outcome for the user. It’s essential to use muscle-building yoga exercises specifically to gain this benefit.

What Type of Yoga Can Help?

There are various types of yoga that can play a role in building muscle. Let’s be frank. One of the reasons many people use yoga is because it is a more gentle method of exercise and focuses more on restorative exercises rather than on what most expect from big body-building competitions. Those engaging in this form of yoga may not see a lot of muscle-building benefits. Of course, this type of yoga has its benefits, too, including helping with flexibility and complimenting meditation.

So, what type of yoga increases muscle strength? In many forms of yoga training, it becomes possible to include a range of yoga poses and exercises to build muscle. Here are some examples of poses that may work well to build muscle:

  • The Tree Pose: Sometimes called “vrksasana”, the tree pose forces the user to apply contraction to the core muscles along with the legs, back, arms, shoulders, and glutes. Done well and done consistently, it works to tone these muscles well. It works to improve posture and balance, too. More so, when done well, the tree pose works very effectively at helping to build muscle quality and flexibility.
  • Forearm Plank: Building muscle mass with the forearm plank is an option. In this pose, the user places their elbows on the floor, shoulder-width apart. The torso is parallel to the floor and the toes are tucked under holding up the legs. It is easy to feel the burn in this pose. It uses gravity and the body’s weight to help build muscles. Holding it for as long as possible increases the results from this pose.
  • A Low Side Plank: The low side plank is another type of yoga pose that can work to build muscles specifically in the core. The focus here is to keep the core muscles engaged throughout the movement, pressure down firmly on the leg that’s laying flat on the ground, and use only the edge of the foot for support. This forces the core muscles to maintain the balance of the body.

Yoga Doesn’t Create Massive Muscles

While yoga is a solid option for building muscle tone and working to build the overall power in muscles, it doesn’t necessarily create super-sized muscle mass. It is very common for people to confuse the benefits of strength training. For some, the focus is on creating larger muscle sizes. For that to happen, muscles need to be worked hard so that small tears form in them. As the tears heal after a workout, new cells create muscle tissue. That increases the overall size of the muscle. Bigger muscles are stronger and can manage larger amounts of weight. Yoga doesn’t create that same result. While muscles do get larger and more powerful, it isn’t in the same specific way.

Should You Invest in Strength Training Through Yoga?

For many people engaging in routine yoga exercise, muscle improvement is likely to happen no matter if that is the focus of the exercise or not. Strength training in any form is generally good for a person. It may help to improve resting blood pressure, promotes healthy bone density, and boost metabolism.

Enhance Your Yoga Training and Education

Becoming a yoga teacher may help you to engage fully in what yoga training can offer. Learn more about the benefits of yoga teacher training in Costa Rica and how it can help you achieve your goals.

The Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy and Yoga is the world’s premier study abroad program for massage therapy and yoga. We offer both a 600 hour and a 700 hour COMTA Endorsed Curriculum Massage Therapy course which satisfies the licensing requirements for massage therapy in most of the United States. Additionally we offer continuing education for massage therapists and yoga teacher training.

Our 200 Hour certification is yoga alliance approved and includes prenatal yoga teacher training as well!

Complete the form below to learn more:

OUR PARTNERS

yoga alliance teacher training in costa rica
Info Center