People are turning to yoga more and more in an effort to achieve balance in strength and flexibility, tranquility, and spiritual growth. This ancient relaxation technique has been incorporated into the majority of everyday programs within fitness centers all around the world, even in schools and corporate offices. However, the world of weightlifting still does not recognize all the potentials of combining yoga with lifting weights. This combination can improve your total body posture, flexibility, balance, and increase your strength and endurance. By strategically targeting certain movements and muscles, you will be able to get all the benefits in just half the time.
This means better performance at the gym, less pain and aches and faster growth after workouts. Yoga, therefore, represents a path towards a positive transformation, and here is how weightlifters can benefit from it:
1. Speeds Up Post-Workout Recovery
Proper muscle relaxation is as important as the very workout itself. Rehabilitating your muscles the right way will lead to muscle mass increase, because it is during the post-workout rehabilitation when your muscles actually grow. There are cells on the outer surface of your muscle fibers, called satellite cells, which are required for muscle increase and retention.
During a hard weightlifting workout, you actually perform damage to your muscle fibers, and the function of these satellite cells is to optimize the environment for the repair and growth of muscle tissue. Satellite cells are mobile, and they start multiplying in order to provide nuclei to muscle tissue and rehabilitate it. Yoga assists the post-workout recovery with its deep stretches that elongate muscles without stress. It is perfect for back, arms, and shoulders – the most active muscle regions of a weightlifter.
Faster recovery means injury prevention, less post-workout soreness, and getting back in the gym sooner.
2. Increases Mobility and Flexibility
Weightlifters experience a decrease in flexibility and mobility because they perform isolation exercises which shorten the muscles, resulting in shorter movements.
There are two groups of muscles: agonist and antagonist. Agonist muscles are there to cause movements while antagonist muscle function is to oppose those movements. Studies show that there is an increase in power output when alternating antagonist and agonist muscle exercises, meaning that flexibility and better coordination of both muscle groups are important. Weak antagonist muscles lower the speed of movement and limit flexibility. Practicing yoga helps increase the flexibility and mobility of antagonist muscles and improves brain-muscle communication.
After only a few short yoga sessions, you can help your antagonist and agonist muscles stop competing against each other, but start complimenting each other.
3. Helps Control Hormone-Induced Aggression
There are a number of studies that link high testosterone levels with increased aggression. While this may not be true for everyone, science tells us that it is evident there is increased testosterone present during high-stress situations. What leads to higher testosterone levels in weightlifters? It is the result of a diet that promotes its secretion: high-carb diets promote the production of insulin, which keeps cortisol levels low. One of the major effects that practicing yoga provides is mental stability, through mastering Pranayama (yoga breathing). Pranayama can help you reduce sleep disturbances, insomnia and anxiety. By properly mastering yoga breathing techniques, you can find more mental clarity and mind-body connection before, during and after weightlifting trainings.
If you want to gain more muscle mass and strength, improve your posture, flexibility and mental stability, you should seriously consider participating in yoga sessions. Your muscles will recover more quickly, the risk of getting injured will undeniably lower, and consistent yoga practice – tension, soreness and anxiety will become a thing of the past. It does not disturb your weightlifting routine and takes only a few minutes to perform. Short pre- and post-workout yoga sessions are there to complement and help you get the best from your weightlifting routine!