Traditionally, yoga and bodybuilding don’t intermingle, but an increasing number of weightlifters are recognising the many benefits that yoga can bring to their workouts.
Yoga is an ancient exercise from the Far East. There are various types of yoga, each focusing on key movements that strengthen and relax the mind and body. Although it isn’t an activity that will make your heart beat fast and cause you to sweat buckets, it can still have a powerful effect on the body.
There are plenty of great reasons why bodybuilders should introduce yoga poses into their routines. For starters, it relaxes muscles, so is ideal for weightlifters who want to prevent their muscles from shortening and tightening after training sessions. Yoga can deliver an increased range of motion in muscle groups, which can boost muscle strength and improve flexibility, and even performance. Crucially, it can help bodybuilders improve their balance and posture, which can ensure the correct lifting of weights and reduce the risk of injuries. As a great way to relax the mind and reduce stress levels, yoga also builds resilience in weightlifters.
So, what techniques should a bodybuilder follow if they want to benefit from yoga?
This pose is superb for stretching back muscles, improving your core, toning your abs and even helping to build muscles over time. To achieve this pose, get into a push-up position and rest bent forearms on the floor. Keep your body off the ground in a straight line, with your back and legs straight at all times. Hold this pose for around 20 seconds.
This common yoga pose targets the spine, so it’s ideal if you want to release any tightness in back muscles. Plus, it’s recommended for those who suffer from digestive troubles. Start this pose in a seated position, with your right knee bent, and your left leg placed over the right leg. Your left elbow should be placed over the right knee, where you then twist your torso towards the right side and exhale for up to 10 breaths. Repeat the pose on the opposite side.
Legs up the wall
If your leg muscles are feeling tight, this easy pose is a good option to include at the end of your workout sessions. Simply lie on the floor near a wall and rest your backside as close to the wall as possible, with your legs resting up the length of the wall. Maintain the pose for as long as you feel comfortable.
Standing forward bend
Ideal for releasing tension in the hips or hamstrings, this pose starts in a standing position, with your hands on your hips. As you exhale, bend your hips and try to touch the floor. If you find this hard, bend your knees. Keep your backside lifted and your weight evenly distributed. Hold the pose for a few seconds, and then move your hands up your body and straighten your knees and back as you return to a standing position.
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