Strength training vs yoga, which one is better? If you’re like most people, you probably think of yoga as a gentle form of exercise that’s good for your mind and body. And while it is certainly that, it’s also much more than that. Yoga is an incredibly effective way to strengthen your muscles and improve your overall fitness. If you’re looking for an effective way to get in shape, consider adding yoga to your routine. You’ll be surprised at how challenging it can be!
What comes to mind when you think of strength training? The gym? Sore muscles and sweat? Using your muscles in positions you didn’t know existed and walking away extremely sore? Strength training requires weights and muscle contractions. This type of training leaves you sore and requires you to keep it up or start all over again.
Why? Because once you start building muscles you need to continue or it turns to flab, fat or sagging muscles.
Strength training a couple of times a week to maintain that muscle is advisable if this is how you choose to work out. It also keeps your metabolism running efficiently and it is the number one bone loss preventative measure.
Yoga, on the other hand, uses your own body weight to help you stay fit. By practicing yoga, you are putting your body into positions that need to be supported by your muscles. So you could say you are lifting weights but not gym weights.
Yoga also lets you focus on your being, your feelings and thinking versus focusing on changing and perfecting your outer appearance.
Yoga allows you to increase muscle tone and definition as well as muscle size. It may take a while longer, more skill, time and determination but it can be done without lifting weights.
Strength Training vs Yoga
The major difference between weight training and yoga is that weights are best if you are looking to “bulk up” and yoga allows you to take a more well-rounded overall approach.
Weight training means that as long as you continue to work out with weights, you will continue to grow the size and strength of your muscles forever. All you have to do is keep adding more and more weights to your workout (along with all the other machines/methods).
Yoga, on the other hand is a more balanced way of strength training:
- Yoga moves your body the way it is supposed to move. This keeps it working and functioning properly.
- Yoga helps to reduce your risk of injury
- Yoga conditions your body to perform everyday functions easier: sitting, walking, bending, twisting and lifting
- Yoga tones muscles all over your body versus weight training where you are isolating and flexing one muscle or muscle group at a time
- In yoga, you use both small and large muscles
- Moving in many directions with yoga is multi-dimensional whereas weight training is one-dimensional
- Yoga stretches muscles as they contract whereas weight training makes the muscle get smaller as it contracts. Both use eccentric contraction but yoga gives you an elongated look while increasing flexibility in the muscle and joints. If you don’t stretch properly with weight training, your muscle fibers heal close together, which in turn gives your muscles its compact, bulging look.
- Yoga builds up muscle endurance. During a yoga workout, you are typically holding and repeating a pose for a period of time.
Can Yoga Replace Strength Training?
Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or just starting out, you might be wondering if yoga can really replace strength training. The answer is…it depends. Yoga definitely has some benefits, but it’s not a replacement for all the great things strength training can do for your body.
Some suggest that you mix both weight training and yoga. If you want a variety, and to see faster results, then do both. Contrary to what many people believe, strength training and yoga can actually be complementary activities – when done correctly, they can help improve balance, flexibility, and strength.
Finding what you love and are comfortable with is the key. You will also want to incorporate whichever one you choose into your lifestyle forever.
Weight training and yoga are both rewarding and provide different results. Choose whatever works into your lifestyle and works for you. There is not right or wrong solution—just get out there and do one or both!
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