As a strength and conditioning specialist, I’ve overheard clients comment that bodybuilding and yoga are contradictory activities. The general perception by bodybuilders seems to be that yoga is a means of achieving deep relaxation, rather than providing a “real” workout for muscular growth and strength. While people may bodybuild or practice yoga for a variety of mental and physical gains, the two disciplines actually complement one another quite well. Weightlifting helps to build bulk, and so can also result in shortening and tightening your muscles. This is where yoga comes to the rescue. Yoga releases tight muscles, unleashing your true fitness potential with increased range of motion. A healthy range of motion facilitates the efficient development of muscle strength, ultimately enhancing athletic performance.
Bodybuilders are constantly placing significant tension and pressure on their muscles and joints through repetitive weightlifting, even when done by experienced lifters with proper form. Incorporating yoga poses into an exercise routine can counterbalance this stress on the body by encouraging a focus on deep, full breathing, the stabilizing and aligning of muscle groups, and the protection of skeletal joints.
Here are a few of the best yoga poses to complement your bodybuilding routine:
2. Opposite Arm and Leg Extension
3. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
4. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
5. Legs-Up-the-Wall (or Chair) Pose
Balance is key to avoiding injury in bodybuilding! Before you gear up for another season of wear and tear at your gym, make sure you allocate a portion of your training regimen to yoga, finding the ideal duet of a powerful mind and a powerful body.