Power Up: Yoga and Strength Training

Power Up: Yoga and Strength Training

Get fit, get healthy, get strong. Yoga is an amazing all over mind-body workout, but if you’re looking to go a step further, then throwing in some additional training with weights might be what you need to power through 2024

Reading time: 4 minutes

Yoga’s low-impact workout and sheer variety can do your body minor miracles on the mat, from a lithe physique to a calmer mind. This incredible practice brought to us by the ancients is a great way to train for all the subtleties and nuances of real life, the twists, and turns of the everyday, from getting in and out of the car, to reaching high up into the cupboard for your secret stash of cookies.

While yoga can be effective for sculpting muscles, helping you tone up and gain strength, many people are also now integrating it with traditional strength training.

“Use it or lose it is something I always think of when it comes to our muscles,” says Rachael Sacerdoti of It’s So Simple (itssosimple.co.uk). “As we age, muscle mass naturally decreases — this is why resistance training is so important.”

But strength training may bring with it other benefits too— and there’s a lot of science to prove it.

According to research from Newcastle University lifting weights makes your nervous system stronger too — not just your biceps — while other studies show how it can likewise cut your risk of almost everything from diabetes to kidney disease.

Resistance exercise also benefits cognitive abilities like attention, reasoning and memory, says a study from the University of Alabama, Birmingham in the USA.

It’s even been associated with greater longevity, as well as injury prevention, all of which will serve you well in later life.

Power Up: Yoga and Strength Training

Weight training benefits

  • Increases strength
  • Improves your mood
  • Tones your body
  • Strengthens your bones
  • Reduces your risk of injury
  • Helps burn more calories
  • Improve cardio performance

However, if you are going to embark on a new strength-training regime, then it’s best to get some expert instruction right from the start — just like yoga.

Make sure you learn proper form and technique from a coach in order to minimise the risk of injury and start with lower weights first for easier, controlled movements.

In fact, technique is your number one concern when it comes to lifting weights, so don’t take any shortcuts at this point — lifting incorrectly can lead to serious injury.

Once you’ve nailed form and technique under an expert’s eye, then you can gradually build up the weight load over time as your strength grows and your ability improves.

Starting small is a good idea. Even exercising with light weights will help to build your muscular endurance, according to the folks at Fitness First (fitnessfirst. co.uk).

But if it’s physical strength you're looking for, the heavier, the better, it reckons. By adding compound lifts like squats and deadlifts to your regular workout routine, you'll increase your strength faster.

This is handy not only in the gym, but when you’re picking up the shopping or hauling your luggage around heading out on your summer hols.

Power Up: Yoga and Strength Training - Majot Lutie

Home gym essentials

If high-street gyms aren’t your thing, then it’s pretty easy to build your own gym set up at home these days. The Raptor F22 from Major Fitness / Major Lutie is a great ‘All In One’ multifunctional power rack for home gyms offering efficient and safe full-body strength training in a compact space. It’s the perfect way to complement any regular yoga practice.

With a superb dual-cable pulley system that allows for three people to train simultaneously, it provides a choice of over 80 exercises — everything from cable squats and standing rows to bicep curls and pull ups — so ideal for diverse fitness goals. It’s got everything to meet the training needs of yoga practitioners wanting to add lifting to their repertoire. Watch this space: Major Fitness / Major Lutie will be launching a dedicated EU website for buyers in the UK in 2024, with all at-home racks under £1,000, more affordable than competitors in this space. major-lutie.com

Resilience for Life

As well as building your muscles, weight training is also believed to strengthen your bones.

Muscle mass decreases as we age, which can lead to reduced strength, mobility and overall functional abilities.

Lifting heavy weights regularly can help maintain bone mass and build bone density too, great for long-term health, longevity and injury prevention.

Strength training can even have an impact on your metabolism, helping to elevate your metabolic rate, the rate at which your body burns calories to sustain daily activities and basic functions.

That means you can continue to burn calories even when you're relaxing after your workout.

Like yoga and other forms of exercise, training with weights also improves your mood, which can have positive knock-on effects on your confidence levels and self-esteem.

Keep Trim-bella

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Power Up: Yoga and Strength Training Trimbella

Feel those ‘feel-good’ endorphins surging helping to boost mood and motivation and cut down stress.

Tracking your progress can also be good for morale too as you pile on heavier weights and build a better, stronger and more resilient version of you, you champ!

Oh, and don’t forget: after all that weight training, make sure you incorporate yoga into your recovery. Stronger muscles mean better performance, so you could see a lift in your practice on the mat as well. And some stretching exercises will do wonders for soothing those aching muscles afterwards.

* Please consult with a health professional or expert before embarking on any new exercise programme

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.