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Yoga and Strength Training Tags: Yoga strength training fitness flexibility

Though your weight-lifting routine may involve copious reps, large dumbbells, and lengthy, repetitive sessions at your local gym, you may want to start rethinking your idea of how you build muscle by taking a look at all that yoga has to offer. While yoga may appear to be nothing more than long stretches on floor mats accompanied with breathing techniques and the occasional lunge or inverted stance, this physical practice might actually be the perfect ticket for a stronger and better toned physique.

Many yoga instructors look as if they must be lifting weights on the side because of how muscular and strong they appear, and in fact, they are — they’re lifting their own body weight while incorporating proper breathing techniques to push their physical ability to the limit. Though you may think you need the heavy gym equipment to build your muscles to their maximum capability, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that learning to lift and balance your own body through various yoga poses can be just as effective at sculpting the muscles as your typical gym routine.

Yoga could be the ticket you’re looking for when it comes to building strength even though its approach defies the very definition of what strength training is. The American Council on Exercise claims that strength training is exercising while progressively building resistance for the purpose of gradually strengthening the body — classic weight training that’s often performed in a gym setting fits this idea, as resistance is built through the use of heavier weights. In order for your muscles and bones to grow in strength, they must be constantly overloaded, and weight training allows you to build more and more weight over time to achieve this. So, in this sense, weight training technically may give you better results when it comes down to just building pure muscle.

Though yoga utilizes just your body weight and technically does not give you an opportunity to build resistance through adding more weight over time, yoga offers a more balanced approach to the idea of strength training. Yoga can help reduce your risk of injury for other exercises you may be engaging in, and it also helps you better perform everyday tasks like walking, sitting, twisting, and lifting. Yoga assists your body in performing daily physical undertakings, no matter how small or simple they may appear, with greater ease and comfort, giving it a more functional purpose than the repeated bicep curls or leg raises that you have planned during an average weight-lifting routine.

Also, yoga is much more efficient at strengthening multiple muscle groups compared to most other exercises that are practiced on a one-dimensional plane. Yoga utilizes both large and small muscle groups at the same time while you get into poses that sometimes require twisting, arching, or pressing, and this works those muscles much harder than strength exercises that use only one motion and work one major muscle group at a time. For example, if you’re considering doing continuous tricep dips to work your triceps alone, take a look at some inverted yoga poses that force your shoulders, triceps, and deltoids to lift and balance your body weight — you may even find yourself so focused on balancing your body that you won’t even realize you’re lifting such a heavy weight and challenging multiple large muscle groups at once. You’ll also find that many yoga routines ask you to repeat the same poses throughout the entirety of the workout, and this will increase muscle endurance as you learn to hold these poses for longer each time.

Body Building discusses how yoga also helps with building muscle because of its ability to aid in the overall recovery and repair of the muscles you may have worked out that week. Certain resting yoga postures allow the muscles to stretch and relax, thus increasing blood flow to the worked areas of the body. This increase in blood flow also brings an increase in oxygen, which assists the muscles in healing and growing stronger. The breathing techniques taught in yoga can help bring more oxygen in your body and better control the way you move from pose to pose, and this is not something commonly taught for typical weight-lifting routines.

You can also use yoga to increase your flexibility, as this assists in the muscle building process. Increasing your range of motion allows you to reach higher and squat lower, and you can then use this to your advantage when weight training by putting more power behind your moves.

If you are thinking of switching up your typical lifting routine with a bit of yoga, you shouldn’t expect to physically “bulk up” like you might if you were lifting extremely heavy weights — however, you will build more strength that you’ll be able to use in practical ways. Livestrong explains that the amount of muscle control necessary for certain poses that require balance, focus, and flexibility will build your muscles in a way that differs from the way they are built by repeating the same isolated position in a gym setting. Lifting weights and certain cardiovascular activities tighten and shorten the muscles, whereas yoga uses eccentric contraction where the muscle stretches and contracts all at once, giving your body an overall sleeker look while your flexibility and strength increase. When you don’t properly stretch, the muscle fibers heal closer together, making your muscles appear more compact and bulgier overall.

Replacing some of your weight lifting with a few good yoga sessions can be great for both your mind and body, but you don’t need to throw your entire gym routine aside. There are plenty of benefits to isolating specific muscle groups and strengthening each muscle group individually, as yoga focuses more on the bigger picture than working one area of the body at a time. Just be mindful of increasing your flexibility as well to avoid rigidity in the body.

UPEI researchers ask if there's a positive side to negative experiences in sport Tags: UPEI research positive sports experioences negative no pain no gain pysch theories

UPEI researchers ask if there's a positive side to negative experiences in sport

Researchers at UPEI are hoping to put the "No pain, no gain" saying to the test by asking if negative experiences in sport can sometimes have a positive affect on young athletes.

Travis McIsaac, a master's student in sports psychology, is looking for 200 athletes between the ages of 16 and 19 to complete an online survey about competitive anxiety, burnout, and their relationship with their coach.

'I have an argument with my coach, how do I bounce back from that?'
— Dr. Dany MacDonald

"Pretending that negative experiences don't happen would be a fairly naive way of thinking," said McIsaac, who played hockey with the UPEI Panthers. 

"Not a lot of research has looked at the possible relationship between negative sport experiences and how youth can develop maybe in spite of — or perhaps, even because of — those experiences."

Dr. Dany MacDonald, McIsaac's supervisor, said it's possible athletes can take away important lessons from bad experiences.

UPEI researcher Travis McIsaac and supervisor Dr. Dany MacDonald have put the survey online to make it easier for teen athletes to participate. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

"There's a lot of preconceived notions that sports build character and that people who participate in sports get some good experiences ... But there's also the idea that people can build some sort of resilience in the face of adversity," he said.

"If I get cut from a team does that necessarily mean that I'm going to disengage from sport or can I take something positive from that? Or if I have an argument with my coach, how do I bounce back from that ... how can I develop some good positive skills from that and use those in my day to day life?"

Click here to find out more about the UPEI survey

Playing to be your best

Yousef Sefau and Alex Campbell, who play basketball and soccer for Colonel Gray, say they've faced challenges like burnout and occasional friction with a coach.

Yousef Sefau, left, and Alex Campbell play basketball and soccer for Colonel Gray.

"There's always butting heads with coaches and players too," Campbell said.  "With your teammates, you learn to be open to what they have to say, and same with your coaches, and just be supportive of everyone on your team."

Sefau agrees there's a positive side to the challenges..

 "You learn that sometimes you just have to push through it if you want to succeed and be the best you can be," he said.

McIsaac hopes his research will help young athletes in the future.

"Hopefully we can show that negative experiences don't invariably lead to negative outcomes," said McIsasc. "[And] maybe provide some hope for youth whose sports experiences aren't always as positive as they'd like it to be."

HHHS Jr Nick Marino Opens Strong Over PA Field Tags: HHHS Nick Marino PA Pennsylvania Hatboro-Horsham HHHS

Hatboro-Horsham HS Junior Nicholas Marino leads Pennsylvania’s early season indoor pole vault performance charts with a solid fourteen foot (14’) performance.

At the Pennsylvania DVGTCA Indoor Meet #1 on Saturday, December 12th, 2015, Nicholas Marino vaulted fourteen feet (4.26m / 14’) besting his nearest competitor by a foot and a half while opening the season for Hatboro-Horsham HS.

Saturday’s performance marks the third competition over 14’ this season for Marino who also trains with two-time Olympic pole vaulter Lawrence “LoJo” Johnson’s Vault Assault Pole Vault Development Club.

Get the full results here.

 

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