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Can Yoga replace Strength/Weight Training?

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Updated about 14 hours ago
Created October 18, 2013 at 10:31 PM

I've been doing yoga for about 2 weeks now and I don't think I've ever fallen in love with an exercise/workout more. I always look forward to doing yoga every morning and afternoon, yet I have an issue. I want to gain strength and gain some muscle and possibly lose my "skinny-fat" problem, but I really don't enjoy using weights at all. I absolutely dislike weights and weight training in general. I know thats bad but I just don't enjoy them. I was thinking of possibly doing yoga almost every day and sprints 2x a week, would that help? I've heard that sprints can help build muscle and I enjoy incorporating sprints/intervals into my workouts. Can yoga build strength and muscle? Could yoga possibly help me gain enough strength for a handstand?

Thanks in advance for the help!

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15443 · October 22, 2013 at 3:32 AM

Before I joined a crossfit class I did some of the exercises at home. It is amazing what you can do just with your body weight, however I will definitely say that being in a class environment will push you far more than you'll ever do at home. Just google body weight exercises, this includes squats, push ups, sit ups, and variations of that. Try doing 100 squats with no weight and you'll see what I mean. To make it more more interesting get a small kettlebell and then you can do various swings, lifts, cleans, get-ups, etc to keep you entertained and fit for quite a while.

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0 · October 22, 2013 at 2:31 AM

I love yoga yet I'm not fully interested in Crossfit and definitely don't have the funds to pay for it. Is there anything I can do that could give me similar results to Crossfit? Or just make me a better person physically at athletics?

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273 · October 22, 2013 at 2:09 AM

Just go find a bar somewhere like in the video above. A park, back yard, etc. Or if you still plan to visit a gym, a smith machine works well.

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0 · October 22, 2013 at 1:56 AM

I don't have TRX or Gymnastic Rings. Is there anything else I could use?

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273 · October 22, 2013 at 1:55 AM

Something along these lines can be really helpful. not sure if you have TRX or gynastic rings, but they can also work in place of a bar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD5hn5I_0aU

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0 · October 21, 2013 at 10:46 PM

Thanks(: I've been thinking of integrating body weight exercises into my almost-daily routine of yoga. I can't really do chin-ups even. What do you think could help me acheive the strength to preform a chin-up?

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15 · October 19, 2013 at 10:14 PM

I haven't but I just checked it out and it looks cool! I can't afford to go to classes on a regular basis but I recently moved and tried a month for $30 deal at a local power vinyasa place. LOVE IT! I think I'm going to ask for a class pass for Christmas

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0 · October 19, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Its a mix really, nothing I'm specifically focusing on. I recently got an app for my iPhone called "Yoga Studio" and I absolutely love it. Have you heard of it? My mom wants to join a yoga class with me once she gets back from a trip, so soon enough I'll be in an official class. I'm very excited(:

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15 · October 19, 2013 at 5:42 PM

For sure!!!!! The yoga will no doubt improve flexibility and there are many yoga poses that I struggle with, despite being very fit and flexible, simply because my muscles aren't used to being used that way. What kind of yoga are you doing?

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208 · October 19, 2013 at 5:33 PM

I'm an older guy who went from 250lbs to 185lbs, so I'd say yes to both. I'm a lot stronger than when I was a vegan at the same weight.

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0 · October 19, 2013 at 4:39 PM

So your lifting goes by very fast then? How has that helped you in terms of strength and aesthetics?

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0 · October 19, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Thats smart. I don't really aim to be a bodybuilder either so I like your approach a lot. Thanks so much.

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0 · October 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Thanks for the tips~ I will keep that in mind(: I'd most definitely rather not get injured.

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0 · October 19, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Wow. Thank you so much(: I really do like your response; it's an interesting way to look at it. I do really enjoy yoga, and I'm not much of an athlete at heart. Never liked sports. But I love walking, yoga, and sprints are all I like to do. Maybe even the occasional squats, or pushups. That's great to hear. Thanks so much again. I'm about 134 lbs. at 16 years of age, and 5 feet, 5 inches tall. I just really want to be healthier and somewhat leaner, and definitely flexible and less "jiggly", do you truly think yoga and sprints would achieve that goal?

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245 · October 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

as far as starting out low, its not really an issue unless you have an ego problem.

by all means if you have the strength of a wet noodle, start off with 5lbs and work your way up, when you start repeating new exercises your body will quickly optimize the neural pathways for the movement.(making it easier)

i believe bodybuilders call that 'noobgains', beginners quickly adapting to higher weight not because of huge muscle gains, but rather the body gaining 'muscle memory'.

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245 · October 19, 2013 at 12:37 PM

i dont really follow a program, im not a bodybuilder. i just get weights and lift them, focus on different parts of your body and cycle through them then repeat, or do full body movements.

you dont really need to be pushing super heavy weights, the amount of lbs you lift really isnt important. if you can do 2 reps of 40... use less weight.. if u can do 100 reps of 10.. do more weight, just try to stick to the 10-25 rep range.(imo)

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15 · October 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Just noticed the lose the "skinny fat portion". Still, I think you'll be fine with yoga and sprints. Intense yoga nearly every day plus sprints twice a week is plenty of exercise. Eat a high protein/fat diet and most likely, unless you have metabolic issues like yours truly, you should lean out. There's a big range in yoga teachers' leanness, at least the ones I've met, but I think all of them are STRONG. It's just a matter of whether they start off with a lot more fat. Given that you're already thin, just not super toned, I think the yoga will only help you tone up

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208 · October 19, 2013 at 4:24 AM

As I said I hate weight lifting. I do my simple 10-11 lifts, 12 reps 1 set and I'm done. I'm not even close to being expert on the topic, I just know how well I progressed in one year without much time or effort. I defer to other opinions. Heavy lifting used to be me getting out of bed!

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0 · October 19, 2013 at 3:55 AM

I see, thanks so much for the input, I appreciate it(: Whats your opinion on heavy lifting? Stronglifts 5x5?

Medium avatar
0 · October 19, 2013 at 3:54 AM

Thanks so much. Your always so helpful with answers(: I looked at the link and I must say that really helped a quite lot. Thanks so much again. Whats your take on lifting heavy?

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15443 · October 22, 2013 at 2:01 AM

I don't think that yoga can "replace" lifting or strength training in the sense that it could build muscle and improve your metabolism and body composition. It might be very good for you, physically and otherwise, and contribute to better health and a certain type of fitness, but I personally don't think it will get you to the same place as strength training.

My wife is a yoga instructor and I do crossfit. Crossfit totally changed my physique and metabolism. I lost 6 inches off of my waist and gained noticeable muscle, not just tone but definition and strength. I have no problem jumping at any time and running a 5k, doing 10 pull ups, 100 squats, lifting light or heavy, etc.

My wife is fit and healthy but can't run more than a few hundred yards and can't comfortably lift much more than half her body weight. Besides taking and teaching yoga she does Jillian Michaels for a more intense workout and strength training. Even as a yoga instructor she has trouble with inverted poses due to lack of strength in her shoulders.

I think yoga is a great part of a fitness routine but if you want to get stronger and muscle definition you're probably going to need something else as well.

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15443 · October 22, 2013 at 3:32 AM

Before I joined a crossfit class I did some of the exercises at home. It is amazing what you can do just with your body weight, however I will definitely say that being in a class environment will push you far more than you'll ever do at home. Just google body weight exercises, this includes squats, push ups, sit ups, and variations of that. Try doing 100 squats with no weight and you'll see what I mean. To make it more more interesting get a small kettlebell and then you can do various swings, lifts, cleans, get-ups, etc to keep you entertained and fit for quite a while.

Medium avatar
0 · October 22, 2013 at 2:31 AM

I love yoga yet I'm not fully interested in Crossfit and definitely don't have the funds to pay for it. Is there anything I can do that could give me similar results to Crossfit? Or just make me a better person physically at athletics?

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273 · October 21, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Yoga is a great option for health and wellness, and yes, you can get some strength gains depending or your fitness level, and the type of yoga you are doing. However, depending on the amount of strength and muscle you want to build, you may have to add in some resistance training. This does not necessarily mean using weights, there are plenty of body weight exercises and programs out there that can get you great strength results. Push-ups, chin-ups, sprinting, jumping, body weight squats, lunges, and animal crawls are just the start.

This blog http://www.thefitnessexplorer.com/ has some suggestions for people who hate gyms and structured exercise in general.

Hope it helps

http://www.thebarefootgolfer.com/

Medium avatar
0 · October 22, 2013 at 1:56 AM

I don't have TRX or Gymnastic Rings. Is there anything else I could use?

Medium avatar
0 · October 21, 2013 at 10:46 PM

Thanks(: I've been thinking of integrating body weight exercises into my almost-daily routine of yoga. I can't really do chin-ups even. What do you think could help me acheive the strength to preform a chin-up?

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15 · October 19, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Of course yoga can build towards a headstand or handstand!

The kind of yoga you do will determine how much of a workout it is. I'd recommend vinyasa or bikram if you want a real workout, versus one that's more meditative.

I know a lot of people will argue that you need to do Crossfit or serious lifting to be healthy. But if you're not aiming to lose weight or gain muscle mass and simply want to be healthy and happy, I think yoga a few times a week plus some sprinting for cardio two or three times a week is an excellent idea. I don't practice this mentality myself as I'm essentially a professionally athlete, but for those that are simply exercising for mental and physical health (rather than performance gains or accomplishments), I think you just need to focus on what keeps you healthy and happy. Even if you eat Paleo, that doesn't mean it has to be Crossfit. There are Paleo marathoners, tennis players, Pilates instructors, figure skaters, ballroom dancers, Zumba-ers (?), conventional workout-ers (elliptical plus some weights machines...the usual stuff), etc. Enjoy yoga! I've recently gotten into some power vinyasa for fun/conditioning on the side and I love it! It's a wonderful challenge for both my mind and body

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15 · October 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Just noticed the lose the "skinny fat portion". Still, I think you'll be fine with yoga and sprints. Intense yoga nearly every day plus sprints twice a week is plenty of exercise. Eat a high protein/fat diet and most likely, unless you have metabolic issues like yours truly, you should lean out. There's a big range in yoga teachers' leanness, at least the ones I've met, but I think all of them are STRONG. It's just a matter of whether they start off with a lot more fat. Given that you're already thin, just not super toned, I think the yoga will only help you tone up

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2401 · October 19, 2013 at 6:37 AM

@Melaska,

Before you lift, make sure that you've warmed up your muscles, either with a 10-minute stint on some cardio equipment or light calesthenics. Do *not* do stretching before your workout; it increases the risk of injury. Stretch tight muscle groups after your workout.

When you lift, start with light weights and have someone watch you, so they can ensure you using correct form, even if you have to pay someone. It's much more important to be safe when lifting than to attempt to lift too heavy a weight and get injured.

When you increase weight, increase only enough to provide a moderate challenge on the last few reps of each set. Again, better slow progress than an injury that could be with you for the rest of your life.

Medium avatar
0 · October 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Thanks for the tips~ I will keep that in mind(: I'd most definitely rather not get injured.

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0 · October 19, 2013 at 3:53 AM

What about heavy lifting? I was thinking of starting possibly StrongLifts 5x5; I've looked into it and once attempted it, yet failed at lifting the barbell because of my weak arms. Do you think heavy lifting could be beneficial? I've heard a lot about it; especially in the Paleo community.. Suprisingly when I tried heavy lifting, I didn't mind it too terribly much.

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245 · October 18, 2013 at 11:59 PM

im going to go strongly with no. you may gain the ability to do a handstand, thats probably more balance than muscle. sprinting is better, but i dont really think its a replacement for a balanced exercise. if you are really opposed to weights you should atleast consider bodyweight exercises like pushups/pullups/situps/squats, beyond that adding even light weights will allow much more versatility.

Medium avatar
0 · October 19, 2013 at 3:55 AM

I see, thanks so much for the input, I appreciate it(: Whats your opinion on heavy lifting? Stronglifts 5x5?

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0
208 · October 18, 2013 at 11:14 PM

If you are doing Yoga to gain muscle, sure you can use your bodies weight (if you weight 100lbs and lift yourself partially off the ground you are weight lifting) to build muscle. I'm not into Yoga but my wife does some of it. However she got much faster results when she started lifting in addition. I hate weights as much as anyone but my flexibility for Yoga makes it more frustrating than useful for me.

edit - http://life.gaiam.com/article/can-yoga-replace-strength-training

Medium avatar
0 · October 19, 2013 at 3:54 AM

Thanks so much. Your always so helpful with answers(: I looked at the link and I must say that really helped a quite lot. Thanks so much again. Whats your take on lifting heavy?

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