The Benefits of Including Yoga in your Strength Training Regime
Like most red-blooded males, when I was in my 20’s going to the gym meant pounding out heavy weights, lifting as heavy as I could. Combining this with football three times per week those were the fittest days of my life. Working as a Personal Trainer at many various gyms, while I have always had a healthy respect for Yoga and indeed all forms of fitness, I was set in my thinking of “that’s not for me”. The weights room and sports field is where I live!
Fast forwards to my early 30’s, and looked back on my naivety with a slight tinge of regret. My flexibility was worse than average, my thoracic spine felt seized and shoulders rounded, and my sleep score index was somewhere in the 30-40% range.
While working out my Melbourne boxing studio, I summed up the courage to walk into my first Yoga session at Yolk Yoga in South Melbourne. I like being out of comfort zone, but this was different. Seeing people of all shapes and sizes move in ways I simply could not was a massive eye opener for me. What started out as a goal to do one session per week, quickly turned into a Monday, Wednesday and Friday routine. I loved the Vinyasa flow classes, I loved how they challenged me (man did I sweat), but also how they encouraged and developed me to move better and experience different planes of movement.
I had just taken up surfing, and for anyone who didn’t learn how to surf when they were young, learning as an adult sucks big time. You can pick up the basics of most sport easily to perform yourself, but surfing is different. Different conditions different waves, anyone tried paddling an 8 ft board out through heavy surf? Sometimes making it out past the breakers was an achievement in itself! But then I found I was popping up easier, my movements were more fluid and the mini mal was kicked to the curb and I got my first shortboard.
It didn’t take a scientist to work out the correlation between the strength, mobility and movement Yoga was teaching me, and the improved balance, agility and coordination on a surfboard. Kelly Slater long attributes his longevity and prowess in the surfing world to regular Yoga sessions, since a young age.
But it wasn’t just the surfing that improved. My strength sessions were going to the next level. Range of movement in progressively overloading your strength sessions is vital. My squats were deeper and far smoother, I could straight leg deadlift for the first time ever, chin ups were a breeze and the range of movement in various push ups variations was awesome. I had long struggled with the overheard barbell squat and Kettlebell windmill (that’s that thoracic spine immobility I mentioned earlier!), but the rapid improvement that came through Yoga was truly an eye opener and a game changer in how I approached program design.
I guess the side that I didn’t really expect was the spiritual Yoga teachings and lessons that came via some amazing Yogis. The words of wisdom, the breathing techniques, mind-calming practices have certainly helped me to become a better and more rounded human being and help my sleep massively.
It's experiences like these that have helped shape our values and offering at ReDefined. I love smashing out a good hard sweaty workout, but equally as much Iove a good flow or Yin Yoga session. And there are the benefits of reformer Pilates - hitting muscles groups I forgot existed.
I guess that’s why we are stoked to be able to share these types of experiences and give the Papamoa community a space to train in multiple movement modalities all under the one roof. Is all about that balance!
Look forwards to sharing these with you come July 2020.
Health and Happiness.