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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.