Yoga and bodybuilding may sound like a weird combination, but you need to truly experience it to understand the remarkable benefits it might bring you in improving your overall workout routine. While you indulge in those heavy bodybuilding exercises, your muscles are subjected to constant stress and tension. Yoga helps release that stress and keeps you calm and poised. Yoga focuses on your small, intrinsic muscles that are often overlooked while bodybuilding. As a result, your body becomes more involved in the heavy exercises, with all your small and large muscles equally playing a role in the activity. Let’s take a look at some top yoga poses that can immensely benefit bodybuilders.
Downward Dog Pose
Bodybuilding exercises focus on bringing your muscles’ attachment points closer to one another to make them appear shorter and thus sturdier. This puts much pressure on the muscles and limits their range of motion, which then leads to stiff joints and triggers muscle pains. Yoga poses help in releasing the muscle tension caused by these heavy exercises and adapting your body to a full range of motion.
One proven way of increasing your muscles’ flexibility is the downward dog pose. It is one of those yoga stretches that targets your arm muscles, spine, posterior thigh muscles, and calf muscles. This yoga pose increases blood flow to the brain and promotes awareness. Moreover, it is quite beneficial for curing back pains, strengthening the muscles, and improving posture and balance.
To achieve this pose, you first need to get on all fours (puppy posture), with your wrists underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Bring your palms a little forward, take a few breaths, and bring your feet onto your toes. Now gradually lift your hips, followed by your knees until your legs are straightened. You should be able to feel the stretch in your arms and legs. Keep your head in between both arms, so it remains aligned with your spine and doesn’t break the vinyasa flow. Take deep breaths, and make sure to keep your whole body relaxed throughout. Stay in the pose for a few minutes. Now gradually bring your knees down and relax for a few minutes.
This yoga pose trains your large hamstrings and calf muscles as well as the small, intricate foot muscles to build overall muscle strength. Downward dog is a great way to reboot energy after a powerful muscle-building session.
Mountain Climbers Yoga Pose
While bodybuilding workouts do strengthen the muscles by shortening them, they may, as a result, put pressure on other body organs, especially your heart. You may feel fatigued after every workout and end up feeling more lethargic than energetic. This is where yoga stretches like mountain climbers energize your body to prepare it for more exercise. The mountain climber is great for rebuilding high testosterone levels that are important for intense bodybuilding workouts. By involving more or less every muscle of your body, mountain climbers are like a full-body workout.
To achieve this yoga pose, start in a plank position. Make sure your wrists are directly underneath the shoulders and your head is aligned with your spine. Now inhale and pull your right knee inside as far as you can. Now exhale and take it back to the previous position. Repeat the step with your left knee. Keep on increasing your speed gradually. Remember not to lift your hips during the procedure; only slight lifting is allowed. Continue the session for a few minutes and then relax for a few.
The mountain climber pose targets multiple muscles, putting more emphasis on arms, shoulders, spine, and legs. As a compound exercise, it improves mobility and builds cardio endurance. It keeps your heart healthy, improves your immune function, and increases serotonin levels in the body that, in turn, boost your mood. This pose, when done in a hot room like that in Bikram yoga, can also assist you in body recomposition, a process that helps in losing weight and gaining muscle at the same time. Overall, mountain climbers act as a detoxifier for your body, cleansing it of any toxins and energizing it for further heavy bodybuilding sessions.
If you are a bit confused about the correct way to do this yoga pose, here is a short two-minute video for beginners.
Standing Forward Fold
Of all the drawbacks that an intense bodybuilding workout session may bring, mental disturbances are the worst. Bodybuilding causes you to indulge in exercises that your body is not used to, and thus, it leads to the production of large amounts of lactic acid, which eventually causes extreme fatigue. This fatigue, in turn, disturbs the hormonal balance in the body which further triggers other mental issues like sleeplessness, stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Yoga stretches aid in beating these side effects of bodybuilding workouts.
Standing Forward Fold is one such technique that compensates for these issues. This yoga pose is easy to achieve. Start standing with your feet less than shoulder-width apart. Relax your body, and gradually start bending your torso and go as far as you can. It doesn’t matter whether you touch your feet or not. The point is to just bend yourself till you feel a stretch in your hamstring and calf muscles. Stay in the yoga pose for as long as you can. Now straighten your torso and relax.
This pose is excellent for improving overall circulation by causing a blood rush in the entire body, especially the brain. It acts as a relaxant for the back and leg muscles, thus reducing back pains and stiffness in joints.
Standing forward bend also aids in some digestive issues that come along with consuming workout supplements. Besides this, it improves posture and tones the internal organs of the body. It’s a promising yoga pose that promotes controlled breathing and relieves stress and tension associated with workouts by calming the nervous system and increasing the production of relaxing hormones. As a result, your sleeping habits will improve and your lifestyle will have an overall positive change.
Bodybuilding combined with yoga makes it possible to achieve the desired physique without any compromise on your muscle and joint health. Yoga provides a solid foundation for bodybuilders to build a better mind and body at the same time. It’s an easy way to counter muscle soreness and fatigue post-workout. In order to maximize your bodybuilding gains, complement your routine with some yoga poses to beat bad posture, mental stress, and body aches.