Well, I posed this question to you guys yesterday:
Is doing yoga a sufficient form of strength training?
Either you guys are very, very smart, or Im just inclined to think so because you guys agree with my opinion- but im going to have to go ahead and say no.
While it does take strength and muscle power to hold yourself in various poses, and fluidly transfer from one to the other, I do not believe the muscle is significantly overloaded to the point of fatigue.
Remember: when you do a set of weights, like a biceop curl, you want to do as many reps as it takes to your muscle to the point of exhaustion (you can’t do another with good form.)
However, this isn’t the main reason forthe absolute truthmy opinion.
Aside from building and sculpting killer muslce tone, strength training provides many other benefits, most important of which for women:increased bone denisty.
The only way to increase the density of your bones is apply stress to them, either in the form of impact or weight. When you think of bones, you want to thinkForm Follows Function.
This means that the more impact you apply, the stronger the bone will grow. Running strengthens your leg bones, and unless you can run on your hands***, you need to lift weights to increase the bone density in your upper half.
While I agree that yoga is a GREAT WORKOUT, Im sorry to say you have to lift weights, too. Lifting weights is my favorite thing to do in the world, but i guess a lot of people don’t like it.
To which I say, “too bad.”
***Which reminded me of the days when I used to be able to do this:
I agree with what you say and actually convince many of my female clients to lift weights because of the benefit of increased bone density and prevention of osteoporosis. I like the phrase Form follows Function and it's a solid training montra.
But, I'm just going to play devil's advocate, and bring up some thinking points.
I'm curious what the rate of osteoporosis was in 1900 compared to 2000 or so. My thought is that it was the same or lower despite weight training being almost non-existant 100 years ago, especially for women. Weight training is likely still very low in women. I believe the last statistics from IHRSA said around 14% of Americans had a health club membership. So I think it's safe to say that less than 14% of the female population lifts weights on a regular basis.
Another question is... If the rate of osteoporosis is increasing is it because of a lack of weight training, especially if past generations had less osteoporosis and no weight training?
I remember one doctor saying that in this day in age of imaging and medical tests, we sometimes give names and create syndromes for the normal aging process. The result is that people freek out when they have normal age related changes.
Another thought is to try and figure out what are some of the predisposing factors for osteoporosis. Over the past 100 years, maybe, our diet and food changes have had a bigger impact than our physical changes.
One thing that we didn't do so much 100 years ago was drink so much phosphoric acid and carbonated beverages. Maybe the rise in osteoporosis has to do with Soda consumption.
Having said that, I echo your sentiment. I think it's important for most people to complement their fitness routine with weight training, but I still wonder if the 80 year old monks in Tibet have osteoporosis.
I bet some yogis out there will have some more insight or opinions.
I hate to say it but I think yogo has really been dumbed down for average people to be able to do it easily without a lot of effort. People want to do things that don't exhaust their bodies but at the same time give them a great workout and usually that doesn't happen. If you can do something for 45-60 min straight then it is not very intense and you likly wont get very good results.
The beauty about yoga is that we can combine it with many other training forms.. such as, walking, jogging, sweeming...etc. So, it is not just weight lifting that will tone our bodies and make us stronger! Yoga also stands out with its simple, yet powerful poses and exercises. These later are followed with the deep, energetic breathing, which will build our concentration and endurance.. with these virtues, yoga suits perfectly our busy life....
Now let me clarify the terms that lead to that end.
Yoga is a vast body of wisdom primarily orally transmitted but also codified in several ancient texts; The Yoga Sutras, The Vedas, The Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishad, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It is not a system of exercise. So to accurately answer the posed question I'll have to alter it a bit.
"Is asana (the postures associated with yoga practice) a method of strength training?" Why yes it is. The debate is what asanas, done in what way, to what degree?
Strength training does not require hypertrophy. It is optimum, in order to build strength to completely fatigue the muscle but it is rather ignorant to presume that something less than a fully fatigued muscle is also a muscle not building.
When a muscle bears a load and that load is perceived by the body as a non normal part of the body's existence, then the nervous system goes to work in order to respond to the "crisis". After several weeks of this (let's call it 5) the body adjusts and shifts its perception, now thinking of the load as a normal part of life. The nervous system then calls off the dogs. This is why changing a weight workout every 5 weeks or so is so effective - constant muscles crisis.
That having been said, a load placed on the muscle in an asana or series of asanas also invokes the nervous system response to build muscle. If the asana practice is varied, that is to say if the ways in which the muscle is being worked is different, the body will continue it's work to build in order to handle the demand.
However, the load in asana is fixed. It is limited to your body weight. Therefore there will lkely be some plateau in muscle building. But it is absolutely strength training.
One other note: Bone density is built by bone use which basically translates to weight bearing. Bones not used to bear weight will lose density. Bones bearing weight will not - excepting the natural aging process of course.
Yoga is not a workout. It is a 9,000 year old tool box for human evolution. That's a bit more than a workout, don't ya think?
This question is interesting and funny to me. I taught yoga for 5 years and am an exercise physiologist....but I believe that the earth gym is the best possible fitness program we can have. Because of the fitness classes we have access to and various fitness equipment, we've forgotten the workout we can get in our daily lives, including a regular yoga practice.
Think about it, any program that has you push, pull, lift, drag, press is a strength training program, even if it's just your own body that you're lifting. Calisthenics are strength building - just try it if you're out of shape and you'll see what I mean. Jumping rope is strength building. Again try doing it for longer than 5 minutes if you're out of shape and you won't be able to do it. Same with riding an exercise bike or using a rowing machine.
All of these activities build strength. So of course yoga builds strength. Try the plank pose. Can you hold it?
I lilft weights so I get it that they build muscle faster than our daily activities, but they aren't the end all be all. If some folks don't like lifting weights, do some of these other things--push, pull, drag, press, and lift--in your daily life. Cheryl
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