Are You Interested in Yoga and Bodybuilding?
If you are interested in yoga and bodybuilding, I’ve put this blog together to help demystify some of the benefits yoga can bring to bodybuilders and why fitness-focused, no-nonsense yoga is one of the best ways to keep you fit, improve your flexibility, and ensure your mobility is the best it can become.
Building muscles and longevity through yoga isn’t just “pie in the sky” thinking. Yoga and resistance training help you to ensure you improve your performance, build (and maintain) more muscle mass in a shorter time, and recover quicker from even the most difficult workouts. Let’s get started learning about how yoga and bodybuilding can improve your life!
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Learn why you can be a bodybuilder and do yoga and why it is actually a smart idea.
- Is yoga enough to maintain muscle mass?
- 3 reasons why bodybuilders turn to yoga
- Which yoga is best for bodybuilding
- Is yoga enough to keep you fit?
- Can you build muscles through yoga?
- 5 reasons why yoga and resistance training help you build strength
Can You Be A Bodybuilder & Do Yoga?
Are yoga and bodybuilding something that can be done together? Can you be a bodybuilder and do yoga at the same time? Is it feasible and safe? These are questions I’m going to answer for you.
Yoga takes only a few minutes. Learn how pose variety can help you break up a dull routine.
Yoga can be done quickly. Many of the best yoga flows I recommend can take only 15-30 minutes of your day and can help you warm up or rejuvenate after a long workout. The great thing about yoga and bodybuilding is that they go hand in hand. The key is knowing how to leverage them and adding in the variety your body and mind needs to stay focused and produce powerful results. You can fit in your yoga poses early in the morning, you can fit these routines around your existing bodybuilding/weight training routines (without having to cancel other workouts — ruining your gains). You can also fit in your routines late in the afternoon after work or before you go to bed at night.
Yoga and bodybuilding are mutually beneficial ways to improve your body’s health, strength, and endurance
Bodybuilding can help you strengthen and tighten your muscle tissue assisting you in building your stamina for your yoga workouts. Yoga, on the other hand, helps you to build strength, mobility, & improves your recovery time.
3 Reasons Why Bodybuilders Turn To Yoga
There are many reasons why bodybuilders turn to yoga and vice versa. A recent study of middle aged adults (45-59 years old) showed that yoga has a positive effect on “muscular strength and endurance (curl-up and push-up tests), and lower back and hamstring flexibility (the modified back-saver sit-and-reach).” Bodybuilders who practice yoga recover faster and are able to build muscle easier which shows that yoga and bodybuilding is the perfect combination.
Reason #1: Yoga Helps You Build Flexibility & Improves Mobility
Flexibility is one of the pillars to good physical health. As you age, your ability to flex your muscles goes down. Yoga is one of the most useful ways to improve your flexibility. Many of the major setbacks with flexibility my clients have faced include leading a sedentary lifestyle, facing major life stressors, or improper posture on (or off) the mat.
With the poses and routines I’ve included below, you’ll need to push yourself, hold the postures for the entire duration, and relax your breathing in order to make significant improvements in your flexibility. Immediately, you’ll notice a greater feeling of fluidity in movement, and reduced discomfort. Over time, you’ll notice you require less warm-up, recover more quickly, and can get into positions more easily than you used to.
Best Yoga Poses For Flexibility
- Side angle
- Standing side bend
Best Yoga Poses For Mobility
Mobility is all about being able to move and being able to exercise within your entire range of motion. If you’ve suffered injuries or have major issues with physical health or wellness (or, if you are obese and don’t eat a health balanced, diet) you may end up with poor mobility.
Many of my best students who practice yoga and bodybuilding have learned to incorporate these powerful poses and routines and have seen amazing results. I say, start slowly and make sure you are familiar with the ins and outs of the pose (being sure to practice all safety tips) to get the most out of these mobility-enhancing yoga routines.
The best yoga poses and routines help you improve your mobility. Here are five of the best yoga poses for mobility:
- Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose
- Eye of the Needle Pose
- Downward Facing Dog
- Crescent Lunge
- Pyramid Pose
Reason #2: Yoga Helps You Recover Faster After Hard Workouts
When you combine yoga and bodybuilding together in the same fitness plan, you’ll notice that yoga routines help you recover faster after your hard workouts. Yoga and bodybuilding go hand in hand but where yoga really shines is its ability to recover quicker which means less down time and more time that you can focus on your health and overall wellness.
Yoga and bodybuilding both help you build muscle, endurance, and assist your body with ridding itself of toxic byproducts and chemicals that can have harmful effects that last a lifetime. Stretching can help to stimulate circulation, increase flexibility, and relieve tension. This helps bring more oxygen to your muscles, which can reduce lactic acid production and rid your muscles of any accumulation of lactic acid. (Healthline)
Here are six powerful ways (in addition to Yoga) that you can use to rid your body of lactic acid:
- Stay hydrated
- Rest between workouts
- Breathe with mindfulness
- Consistently warm up using yoga and bodybuilding stretches
- Fill your body with nutrients like magnesium
Reason #3: Injury Prevention – The Major Reason Why Bodybuilders Adopt Yoga Principles
The third and most important reason why bodybuilders adopt yoga principles is that yoga aides in injury prevention. Yoga (coupled with mindfulness) and bodybuilding should be practiced with injury prevention in mind. Taking the time to slowly stretch and let your body feel the burn and fully access its full range of motion will help you to avoid potentially devastating injuries.
5 Tips for Injury Prevention When Practicing Yoga & Bodybuilding
- Go slow & practice mindfulness
- Train with a qualified teacher (Man Flow Yoga)
- Don’t overdo it (if your muscles feel strained or you can’t breathe – take a moment and rest)
- Mix up your poses and routines
- Avoid problematic poses (know your limits & don’t cross them too early). Remember: most yoga routines aren’t made with bodybuilders in mind. Man Flow Yoga actually uses modifications and poses for men who are inflexible.Modifications help you to avoid injury, maintain muscle growth, and slowly ease into new poses and routines without causing long-term damage (which may be promoted by yoga practitioners who lack experience with bodybuilding or bodybuilders).
Is Yoga Enough To Maintain Muscle Mass?
So, you’ve started sandwiching yoga and bodybuilding and you’re afraid your muscle mass is going to decrease? I’ve heard this from even my top students who have spent years training as bodybuilders.
So, how do you maintain muscle mass? Maintaining muscle mass is a combination of strength training (bodybuilding and yoga), consistency, and slowly increasing the weight and duration of your workouts/poses. Problems begin to happen when you overdo your workouts and don’t take the time to allow your body the rest it needs to grow more muscles and maintain balance.
How’s Muscle Built, Anyway?
The process your body goes through to build muscle can be complicated to an untrained yogi and many of my new clients need a quick refresher. Muscle growth (or “skeletal muscle hypertrophy,” as it’s called at science parties) is the result of a complex process that adds more myosin “filaments” to each muscle fiber. This makes the “engine” of the cell bigger and stronger over time. (AvatarNutrition) When you exercise, your muscles require more oxygen and ATP to flex the muscles you are working out with.
How does Yoga Fit Into Muscle Growth?
Yoga lets your body warm up and cool down which gives your muscles that oxygen and energy that they are looking for. Yoga teaches you correct body posture which is important in bodybuilding. Many yoga poses and routines help you to build endurance which is the main tool you need to be able to continue building muscle. Certain yoga poses allow you to break down muscle fibers and build tension as your body then builds them back stronger and more resilient to more tension and stress.
4 Challenges Beginning Yogis And Bodybuilding Adicionados Face When Trying To Maintain Their Muscle Mass:
- Too much lactic acid can cause major health issues & pain/soreness
- Figuring out when to fit both yoga and bodybuilding in
- Finding time to warm up & cool down during a busy day
- Getting up the courage to start
- In-person classes may be intimidating
- Finding the right instructor who “works for you” can be almost impossible with inexperienced yoga classes.
Man Flow Yoga allows you the opportunity to try out the program and the instructor builds the program around your needs, keeping you comfortable, while guiding you in order to reach your fitness goals faster.
Many of the routines I’ve included below can help you overcome the challenges above. Yoga routines should be quick, focused, and you should remain consistent and mindful of the changes and goals you have for your fitness routine.
Yoga and Bodybuilding: A Perfect Match
Yoga and bodybuilding go hand in hand. Yoga helps with endurance, mobility and bodybuilding helps you leverage these abilities while helping you build your muscles and tone your body. Below are five different ways yoga and bodybuilding can help you move towards your goals of health and wellness.
Yoga Helps Clear Your Mind & Relieve Stress
Yoga and bodybuilding aren’t mutually exclusive in their ability to help you relieve stress and tension within your body’s muscle and core. Specifically, yoga helps you become more mindful which prevents overeating. Yoga relieves stress (which can prevent stress eating or other unhealthy practices which hurt your fitness goals).
Bodybuilding Helps You Build Muscle, Perfect For Tough Yoga Routines & Poses
Let’s face it: bodybuilding and yoga are tough to combine and can result in injuries if you aren’t prepared and follow a well-designed routine. I recommend adding yoga slowly to a bodybuilding routine (warming up and cooling down with some of the techniques and poses below). We assess their performance and watch the muscle grow over time adding more strenuous yoga poses as time goes on. Bodybuilding is a powerful tool for any yoga aficionado because your muscles help you to burn calories even on the go or when you aren’t on the mat.
Yoga Helps You Build Your Core & Endurance
Yoga has exercises you won’t find in typical strength training settings, which helps you develop core strength in new ways. Yoga poses also help you build your core and endurance because you are holding the stretch and, as time goes on, you’re expected to hold it longer (building your tolerance and strength).
As your body encounters more heavy resistance and your core is exercised more often (along with bodybuilding exercises), you’ll begin to see results including your ability to hold tough poses and flexes longer and your body becoming less fatigued. Remember, everything is a process!
Yoga Focuses On Aspects Of Strength And Mobility You Won’t Do In Weight Training
Yoga focuses on strength and mobility you won’t encounter in weight training. Your muscles will be stretched to their limits (and beyond) with many of the poses and your body will begin to adapt as time goes on.
Strength and muscular tone are important and mobility is one of the key aspects that drive results for even the most experienced bodybuilders. Strength allows you to build up tolerance so that as your body gains muscle, you avoid many of the aches and pains involving the added body mass you’re carrying.
Expanded mobility needs to be your highest concern as you grow in your fitness journey. Being able to stretch and move your body as far as it can go will not only help you physically (and prevent injuries) but will also improve your emotional and psychological well-being). You’ll feel better about yourself and how well your body can fight resistance and muscle fatigue — you’ll continue and reach your fullest potential.
Man Flow Yoga’s strength-structured exercises focusing on:
- Greatly increased muscle activation of the hips, glutes, core, and upper-back
- Improved movement efficiently and the development of correct movement patterns
- Training your mind-body-breath awareness, for maximum control over your body
I recently wrote a book that goes into much greater detail about building strength and mobility. Yoga for Athletes: 10-Minute Yoga Workouts to Make You Better at Your Sport Paperback is available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Yoga Can Be Used As An Effective Warmup And Cooldown Technique
So, when should you begin your yoga routines? Yoga is a powerful warmup and cooldown technique( as well as a standalone workout). Both yoga and bodybuilding needs to include a slow introduction to the tough exercises that follow. Your body just can’t be thrown into flexing and moving this way and that. You need to be gentle with the new muscles you’ve created. This is why yoga is one of the major tools that bodybuilders use to prevent injuries and long-term muscle fatigue.
Which Yoga Is Best For Bodybuilding?
Remember, different types of yoga serve different fitness goals
- Bikram Yoga – more intense, most challenging, but does not provide modifications for people who are inflexible. Same routine every time.
- Hatha – focused on postures, not as much on the flow. This is good if you can find a solid instructor who understands how to work with people who are more muscular and don’t have yoga experience.
- Man Flow Yoga workouts will help you incorporate yoga and bodybuilding into your day while helping you reach amazing results.
Is Yoga Enough To Keep You Fit?
Yoga is enough to keep you fit if your main goal isn’t building a significant amount of muscle mass. Combining yoga and bodybuilding helps you add on to the benefits of your yoga routines. Diet, sleep, and stress management also play major roles in helping you to stay fit so it is important to ensure you are following the fitness tips I’ve included below to stay on track with your fitness goals. In order to stay mentally aware, mindful, and full fit you’ll need to combine strenuous (and continuous) workouts with eating balanced foods, staying hydrated, and getting a full 8 hours of sleep nightly.
What Bodybuilders Look For In Gains & Why Yoga Fills The Gap
Bodybuilders spend countless hours in the gym and (more often than not) fail to reach the gains they are looking for and face countless muscle injuries and pains after a prolonged workout. Yoga fills the gap and helps you condition your body to reach those muscle gains you’re looking for by keeping you in positions longer and helping you to improve your mobility and access your full range of motion.
During yoga routines, you’ll learn to stay in a pose, concentrating on mindfulness techniques that help you stay present and in the moment while your body does the hard work of building up and maintaining muscle mass and gains that you worked daily to build.
How Important Is Yoga In Keeping You Fit?
Yoga is a powerful add-on to your bodybuilding routine. Many of the tough routines and poses allow you to build up endurance and strength so that you can build the muscle tone and endurance you need to get to the next fitness level.
Common Bodybuilder Calorie Burns & Diet – Why Yoga Helps Your Digestive System/Process
Digestion is typically referred to by doctors as being the breakdown of food as it travels through the gastrointestinal tract, the stomach, and your food’s components are absorbed or carried through to your colon as waste products. Several groups (including those who concentrate on aiding sufferers of gastrointestinal symptoms and diseases) say the definition of digestion also includes symptoms such as gas, bloating, and malaise (overall discomfort) and irregularities with passing stool.
As you begin to build muscle, your body will require more energy (in the form of calories and other critical biological components) to help maintain the gains and strenuous exercises that you’ll be doing both in yoga and bodybuilding.
Yoga helps to alleviate or lessen many of the mild symptoms experienced with:
- General discomfort or psychological stress
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
If you are interested in learning more, be sure to check out this Healthline blog covering many issues relating to yoga and gastrointestinal health.
Can You Build Muscles Through Yoga?
Yoga is a powerful tool to help you build yoga and specific styles and yoga routines are meant to target different muscle groups (and areas) of your body. The key to building muscle mass, endurance, and mobility is to practice the correct yoga poses as you target the same muscle groups in yoga and bodybuilding.
Which Areas of Your Body Does Yoga & Bodybuilding Benefit & Help You Build Muscle?
You’ll need to learn a few of the techniques and poses below (and I’ll go into a little more detail on where the pose or routine helps you build specific muscle groups) but for now here are a few of the areas yoga and bodybuilding help you build muscle, mobility, and endurance:
- Back muscles
- Joints & neck muscles
Yoga & Bodybuilding with Resistance Training Helps You Build Strength
Yoga and bodybuilding help you to not only maintain and improve your athletic performance and meet life’s daily challenges, they also help you to build strength and muscle mass. Resistance training is “
5 Reasons Why Bodybuilders Lose Their Gains Fast
Losing your gains is a real possibility when you begin to fit in yoga and bodybuilding together (if you don’t leverage some of the tips in this blog, that is). It’s important to make sure that you keep track of your reps, stay hydrated, and follow the Man Flow Yoga blog. I’ve listed some of the reasons you may lose your gains (things you’ll want to avoid) when you begin to incorporate yoga and bodybuilding together into your workouts:
- you don’t train intensely enough
- you focus on too many muscle groups or too few
- You’re always changing your goalposts (maxes)
- You’re not doing enough sets
- you don’t have an effective warmup and cool down technique
Yoga & Bodybuilding: How To Maintain Your Muscle Mass
Building muscle mass is one thing – keeping it and sculpting the powerhouse you’re looking for is yet another. Here are the most important keys to maintaining your muscle mass and keeping your body strong and fit:
- Eat clean (avoid alcohol, sugary foods, and definitely cut out deep-fried foods!)
- Ensure you get enough protein (fish, chicken, & Lentils or Pinto beans)
- Plenty of resistance training
- Drink eight full 8 ounce glasses of water per day (or more!)
- Constant & continuous workouts designed with mindfulness & muscle mass in mind
5 Best Yoga Poses For Bodybuilders
Does yoga build muscle is a common question I get all the time. Most people stare at me in disbelief when I tell them that I don’t do weights is honestly one of the best parts of my day. How can I not train with weights and still have significant muscle mass? It’s because I do the right exercises (yoga poses); the ones that help you gain muscle mass by testing your endurance limits and break down your muscle fibers, so that your body can build them back up. (That’s how muscle gain happens)
Exercise 1: Chair Pose
If you could do one yoga pose to build your lower body strength and muscle mass, this would be the pose. This exercise engages all of the muscles of your legs, in addition to your core. It even works your upper body, by forcing you to hold your arms up over your head. (Yes, even holding just your arms up can get tiring after a while.) Try this pose for a minimum of 60 seconds to start developing some killer thigh muscles.
For a full video walkthrough of the pose click here: Chair Pose
Exercise 2: Warrior 3
Whew. The first time I saw Warrior 3 I thought that the demonstrator was a magician. This pose seriously tests your body’s strength. You have to hold yourself up on one leg while pushing your hamstring flexibility to its limits, while isometrically engaging the muscles of your arms and lifted leg. Remember to breathe here, or you won’t hold it for any longer than 15 seconds. Make sure you are warm before doing this pose as well. Aim for 30 seconds, or even 1 minute – although at that point your form could start getting sloppy.
Exercise 3: Plank
- YOUR. PLANKS. Build your upper body strength while developing your core strength. Hold it for as long as you can for best results. Start at 1 minute and build your way up from there. (By the way – if you’re curious, my record is 11 minutes and 30 seconds.)
Exercise 4: Dolphin Pose
Don’t forget about your shoulders and upper back. Dolphin pose is an awesome yoga pose for helping you gain muscle in that key location. Also, dolphin pose helps you develop flexibility in your shoulders, which helps you in handstands, crow pose, and any movement where you are pressing your arms up overhead. Without that shoulder flexibility, you are at a serious disadvantage! So even though it sucks, make sure to do your dolphin pose.
For a full video walkthrough of the pose click here: Dolphin
Exercise 5: Haka Pose
This yoga pose is KILLER on your hamstrings, and equally awesome because it helps open up your hip flexors and tone your core. If you want your body to look like Adonis, then this pose is for you. Hold it for 30 seconds, and try and build up to 2 minutes.
For a full video walkthrough of the pose click here: Haka