One has you grunting while the other has you chanting –what could yoga and bodybuilding have to do with one another? According to fitness models, bodybuilders, and elite martial artists –quite a bit.
It turns out that yoga can improve performance, boost gains, and give you a higher level of enjoyment from your workouts.
Flexibility is the most obvious benefit of yoga. Although you may shun stretching in favor of another set of bicep curls, you may be making a huge mistake.
That’s because flexible people are less likely to be injured –a surefire way to halt progress. In fact, a research study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that yoga was effective at treating and preventing lower back pain –a common injuries that fit people face.
Not only that, but when joints and muscles is rigid and stiff, it severely limits range of motion. This puts a cap on the amount of stimulation you can put on your muscles –limiting muscle building.
Just because you can do 28 crunches for 4 sets, does not mean that you have core strength. Real core strength comes by working your entire core –not just your rectus abdominus (front of the abs).
Yoga works more core muscles than most Western ab exercises. Poses like bridge and crow engage your entire core, from your lower back to your obliques.
A strong core isn’t just for showing off at the beach. With burly core muscles come a boost in performance for all exercises that require stability and balance like squats, dead lifts, and bench presses.
Although you probably get a high from your workouts, being fit in today’s world can be stressful. You have to find time to get to the gym, cook your meals, and make sure you always have your go-to supplements on hand.
All this stress can raise levels of cortisol –a stress hormone that causes storage of belly fat. Yoga has been shown in a mountain of research studies to fight anxiety, induce relaxation, and drop cortisol levels.
“Can’t I Just Stretch?”
It’s important to note that the most common stretches that people do (toe-touches, seated forward bends) are variations of standard yoga poses. When you give the real-deal yoga pose a try, you’ll feel why athletes of all types are shunning their static stretches in favor of some downward dogs.