How many times have you heard that yoga is weird, for girls, for hippies, etc? Probably a lot. However, the benefits of yoga for everyone, but especially bodybuilders and powerlifters, are game-changers. All you need to do is set aside the time and pick up a cheap yoga mat. Yoga for bodybuilders and powerlifters is a great way to prevent injury and increase mobility thus lead to more optimal training sessions.
Yoga For Bodybuilders: Faster Recovery
The benefits of yoga are many and varied, yet one of the best benefits for powerlifters and bodybuilders is the the ability to recover faster. When you incorporate yoga into your routine regularly, you will be stretching out the tight muscles. The means that instead of continuing to tighten the muscles, they periodically stretch and loosen which essentially allows them to breathe.
However, yoga will not only help you to loosen and lengthen your muscles. Yoga also helps to speed up recovery by working the smaller supporting muscles in your body that are sometimes missed with conventional lifts. These supporting muscles will help you lift with better form, meaning that there will be less unhealthy and useless stiffness in your body.
When you feel long and loose going into a rough lifting session, the session will invariably go better. If you walk into the gym feeling bunched up and tight from yesterday’s session, your workouts will suffer. No to mention, with the lengthening and loosening of the muscles, you won’t be as sore and can therefore train with more intensity more often. #GAINZ
One of the hands down best benefits of yoga is the increased mobility you get from stretching those tight muscles. Can’t get below parallel in a squat? Lacking range of motion in your lifts? Yoga will take care of these issues that plague your lifting sessions. Trust me, you don’t want to get on a platform or on stage and not be able to perform due to range of motion and lack of mobility.
Yoga forces your body into positions that are very different from lifts. These admittedly awkward positions are exactly what your body needs to maintain its natural motions and flexibility. By twisting and flexing your body in ways that you are not used to, you are forcing your muscles to open up and work with you.
When you lift, your muscles contract. Unless you make a focused effort to open these muscles once and a while, preferably a few times per week, they will stay contracted. It will get harder and harder to hit those squats and deadlifts. Poses such as the yoga squat, downward dog, twisting static lunges, and wheel pose will be key to working on that mobility.
Doing yoga increases mobility, which in turn is going to help prevent injury. The less you are injured, the more you can train. There are so many benefits of yoga for bodybuilders and powerlifters it is quite insane.
By loosing and lengthening your muscles, you are increasing your range of motion. When you increase your range of motion, your body will fall into uncomfortable positions more easily without you having to force it. Basically, when you are trying to hit that deep squat, yoga will prevent you from pulling a quad because those muscles will be prepared for the greater range of motion.
Preparing your muscles for your lifting sessions is what is going to set you apart from other competitors. By making sure that your muscles are primed for the movements you are performing, you will get injured less and will recover faster.
Yoga is an excellent primer because it hits every part of the body. Those little connective muscles that are essential to stabilization and power rarely get worked correctly and exclusively during a lifting or cardio session. Yoga will find those weak points and completely incinerate them.
When you practice yoga regularly, those smaller supporting muscles will get worked thoroughly. You will be able to see the benefit of this as you explode out of the bottom of a squat, during incline dumbbell presses, as well as enjoy a stronger mind/muscle connection. None of these can be underrated as a serious lifter.
When you increase your range of motion and mobility, your form will correspondingly get better. Since your muscles are in a better situation to move in the way you want them to, your lifts will match those textbook pictures. For example, if your quads are looser and and longer, then you will be able to hit that squat without rocking forward onto your toes or leaning forward too far.
When you improve your form, you will also be preventing injury. With more fluid muscles, you will be able to put your body in the right position, which will take the strain off the wrong areas of your body. Your back won’t hurt from doing squats anymore, those pull-ups will be lat-focused, and those deadlifts will be flat-backed.
When your form is improved through increased range of motion and your body is being placed in different positions in your lifts, you may have to temporarily back off on the weights. By building your strength with the correct form, you will find that you will shortly be busting through your old PRs.
Yoga Timing and Frequency
In order to get the most out of yoga, it would be ideal to practice when your muscles are warm. This could be post-lift or post-cardio. You can practice yoga on its own, just know that it will take a little bit longer for those muscles to warm and loosen. Doing yoga first thing in the morning after a short walk can be a relaxing way to start the day and loosen up from sleep and last night’s lift.
Ideally you should incorporate 20-30 minutes of yoga into your schedule 2-3 times per week. This will allow your muscles to get progressively looser. If you only practice for 15 minutes once per week you will see slight benefits, not the maximum benefits of yoga listed above. When you do settle in to your yoga practice, focus on fluidity and don’t muscle your way through the movements.
The benefits of yoga for bodybuilders and powerlifters are numerous. We covered a few of the biggest ones here in this article. I guarantee that if you incorporate yoga into you routine you will experience less fatigue, less injuries, and a greater range of motion. Don’t just read this information, use it and bust through those plateaus holding you back!