Hold that Pose!

What words come to mind when you think of muscle building or strength training? Weights, a medicine ball, fancy weight machines, and dumbbells? But, why all of the materialist items? Do we really need all of that to build strength?

Pic 1 for Hold that Pose  Now, what words come to mind when you think of flexibility? Stretching obviously, and perhaps Yoga? So why is it that we associate only stretching with yoga immediately? Because the truth is, with Yoga and other resistance training exercises comes strength training that you can’t get from weight lifting. So if you’re short of weights or don’t have access to a weight lifting machine, good news: one of the best pieces of equipment you can have for strength training is your own body and here’s why:

  • While weights are a great way to build a specific group of muscles, we isolate that group of muscles while neglecting others. As bodybuilding.com states, “We forget about the smaller but very important intrinsic muscles that hold the body together in optimal alignment. When we neglect these muscles, the body’s way of letting you know about it is through bouts of dull pain or aches in your shoulders, knees or lower back that were not there before” (Clark et al., 2008).
  • Holding yoga poses and other resistance training exercises opposed to weight lifting, breaks down to a matter of eccentric contraction in the muscles vs. concentric contraction.

Pic 2 for Hold that Pose

Yoga relies on eccentric contraction, where the muscle stretches as it contracts. This gives the muscle a sleek and lengthy look.

Weight training relies on the opposing principle of concentric contraction. The muscle gets smaller as it contracts. This gives the muscle a compact, bulging appearance.

-Why does it matter to know the difference? Muscle strengthening may be most effective by doing eccentric contractions.

  • Yoga increases muscle endurance, since it is a matter of holding a given pose oppose to short compulsions of a repeated pose.

So next time you shut down a yoga class because you think you won’t benefit from it, revaluate all of the positive outcomes that comes with Yoga and Resistance training. Not only does it work as a double whammy, stretching and building muscle, but it focuses on muscles we usually neglect when weight lifting. As Nicholas DiNubile, says “Yoga can be just as effective as weights when it comes to building a stronger, more impressive physique.” Whether you’re trying out a yoga class for the first time or holding planks or wall sits in your room, broaden your horizon of muscles to focus on instead of isolating one group and neglecting others.

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero