Yoga for Strength? - Fitness Gym and Classes in Beaverton, OR - FIT Academy

Yoga encompasses a whole lot more than breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxing poses. Yoga can be a kick-ass workout and a strength-builder.

Traditional strength training vs. yoga

When you think about strength training, you probably envision lifting weights: dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells — but getting strong is more than that.

By definition, strength training is “a method of improving muscular strength through the use of weights, machines, or the person’s own body weight.”

That last phrase, “the person’s own body weight,” is key here.

Traditional strength training relies on weights and machines to provide resistance to make the muscle work harder. Yoga uses the weight of your body to accomplish the same goal.

Yes, yoga can also be used for strength training!

Yoga plank pose
The Plank Pose – Creative Commons

Best types of yoga for strength

To gain strength with any type of exercise, there are three principles that must be considered:

  • Specificity: You build what you train. If you do dumbbell curls, you’ll get stronger biceps.  If you run on the treadmill, you’ll get stronger leg muscles.
  • Overload: You not only need to use a certain muscle, but you must make it work harder than it’s used to working.
  • Progression: As you continue with exercise, you’ll gradually progress. With that progression the exercise becomes easier for you, so you must keep adding more resistance.

Here are three examples of yoga styles that incorporate strength-building fundamentals:

Vinyasa Yoga

Also known as Flow Yoga, this style combines movement and breath. It emphasizes the practice of flowing from one pose (asana) to another. The instructor can easily step up the pace to provide an intense workout.

Ashtanga yoga

This is the yoga for those who want a real challenge. This is strength yoga. Poses are held for longer periods of time, and they’re designed to build your core, your arms, and your legs.

Power yoga

An offshoot of ashtanga yoga, this is a yoga practice that’s fitness-based. It’s great for athletes. This faster paced, harder-hitting style, will keep you challenged.

side plank yoga pose
Side Plank Pose – Creative Commons via HannahWells @ Pixabay

You still don’t believe you can get stronger from practicing yoga? Check the FIT Academy class schedule for a strength yoga session and come join us.

But be ready to sweat and moan.

You’ll love it!

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