How Yoga Is a Strong Way to Build Strength – The New Threat to Weight Lifting

Jeff Baldelli
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Tone Up Your Body by Toning Down the Weights

Next to cardio, the number one strength-building form of exercise is weight training, and that’s for a good reason: it stimulates the production and release of testosterone.

That may not mean much to you because testosterone is the hormone primarily responsible for the growth of male sex organs, so for women, it might be little more than a sciency word.

While this is true, it’s not the whole story when it comes to understanding how testosterone does its job. Testosterone is a male sex hormone, so it helps in building muscle mass. Because testosterone carries out other functions in the body, it also helps in keeping bones and joints strong.

The activities that stimulate testosterone production and release include weight lifting, sprinting, and interval training we mentioned previously. In contrast, long, slow distance exercises, such as running, cause the body to release cortisol, the primary hormone associated with stress and anxiety.

Cortisol, which also aids in the proper function of the immune system, causes stronger muscles to weaken and even atrophy. So in addition to muscle mass, cortisol can cause bone and joint strength to decline.

As early as the 1860s, Charles Darwin noted a correlation between physical skill and physical strength.

By No Stretch of the Imagination is Yoga Solely for Stretching

If you are paying any attention at all to the health and wellness trends that are taking place, then it’s not a secret that stretching and yoga have had a resurgence in the last few years. You probably know the benefits of having a regular yoga and/or stretching session. You adapt a calmer personality, you work on your posture, and you also get a great workout.

More recently, weightlifting has also been getting a lot of attention. We feel it’s important to say something about these two very popular but also opposing forms of exercise. It’s a criticism that yoga and weightlifting cannot be compared. Yoga is a completely different form of exercise that uses stretching and poses to create elongation of muscles.

While weightlifting is about improving your muscle strength by overloading them. When you compare the two, you see that weightlifting helps you to build strength, while yoga will improve your flexibility and make you less prone to injuries.

While the two exercise methods seem to be completely opposite, the fact of the matter is that they do serve multiple, complementary benefits. When they are combined together in an effective and safe way, they can even spark a healthy competition.

Muscle Injuries are No Childs Play

Nearly 40 million adults experience lower back pain each year according to Chronic Back Pain Research Foundation. One of the major causes of this is weak abdominal muscles. If you are a yoga practitioner, you may also have noticed that your yoga poses give you a strong core.

With yoga, you can maintain flexibility, coordination, endurance, balance, and overall strength. The one big difference between yoga and other forms of strength training, is that yoga generally does not result in any muscle injuries.

Recently, many athletes have turned to yoga to compliment their weight lifting programs.

All it takes is 300 to 600 hours to become good at it. Of course, you’ll need to take up a yoga class and make a consistent effort to keep at it.

Just like weightlifting, yoga also encourages you to challenge yourself over time, which means you’ll be able to gradually increase intensity, form, and add riskier poses on the way.

In the book, The Athlete's Guide To Yoga, author Loren Fishman states that yoga may give you a greater sense of control over your body than weightlifting. This can help you achieve more athletic poses such as those you would find in gymnastics, dance, and rock climbing.

Muscle Matter Matters

Yoga is one of those exercises that may seem too good to be true. Would it really work to your advantage if your workout never involved picking up free weights or pushup bars? And how could something like yoga actually be better for building strength than strength training?

Well, it turns out that having your muscles flex but never extend could be just what you need to strengthen those all-important paraspinal muscles of the spine.

Your lower back usually takes the greatest beating of any muscles on your body. As a result, it is a common location for injuries and pain.

Paraspinal muscles are the muscles in your back that connect your vertebrae and help keep your spine straight. Often times, they are seeking weaknesses in how the spinal column moves.

This is why if you have back pain, yoga is one of the best treatments out there. When you perform inverted poses like downward dog, your lower back is in extension, making it possible for those muscles to gain strength.

Yoga is not the only exercise that includes this kind of spine extension. For instance, the lunge exercise that is so popular with trainers and exercise enthusiasts is the same kind of movement.

Hip-hop group P. Diddy and his Bad Boy Family is a great example of this. He uses various hip-hop and martial arts poses that focus on keeping his back straight as he performs his exercises.

Flex in the Weight Room

Many cardio exercises, like running, have a lot of strengthening benefits, but if you really want to work out the muscle, and even outright build it, then there’s some hard work that needs to be done.

This is weightlifting.

Weightlifting is an amazing weight loss tool, and strength building is no doubt your first concern. With weight lifting, however, you’ll also get a lot of benefit in terms of increased flexibility and increased metabolism, which will be discussed later on.

Weightlifting is a vital workout to perform if you want to burn more fat. In this section we’ll discuss some of the best reasons why.

Strength is Key

To build a strong body that’s capable of denying your fat tissues from growing, you need to lift weights.

They say that muscles don’t get built in the gym, but rather on the bed and in the kitchen. While this is true to an extent, this is more an issue of your body recovery than anything else.

Building Stronger Muscle

You don’t have to be a bodybuilder looking to impress with bulging biceps to reap the benefits of weight training.

Anyone who is concerned about their physical strength, physique, and overall wellness is encouraged to lift weights.

To Sum It All Up

Strength and fitness in our culture are linked with being strong and being able to lift a lot of weight.

This focus has consequences both for your body and for your mind.

When you focus on your mindset, you’ll not only live pain-and injury-free, you’ll also be happier and more positive. When your mindset is in check, this will enable you to focus on how to enjoy and appreciate everything around you, rather than solely focusing on tasks and goals.

If you’re able to develop the right attitude towards all of the positive aspects of life, you’ll achieve more success in your endeavours. And you’ll also be a lot less likely to get injured.

Doctors and researchers will tell you that physical activity is one of the most powerful analgesics out there. Exercising every day doesn’t just make you stronger, it also helps you to live longer and healthier lives. Research shows that staying active can improve your memory, relieve stress, and even helps to combat the effect of diabetes.

When you exercise regularly, your body releases chemicals that help to block pain-causing molecules. That means you’ll notice less of a difference from everyday aches and discomfort.