Bodybuilding and yoga go together like two peas in a pod, Forrest and Jenny, or even peanut butter and jelly.
Dear Reader, have you ever had tightness in your hamstrings from a heavy leg day that hurt so much when you stuck your leg out there was a pain so fiery it shot up all your leg and even into your lower back?! If so, then you need more mobility in your body. It’s become stiff as a board and won’t go away until you learn how to stretch. The best way to get your mobility back is through yoga. Being able to move your body in ways that is fluid and without pain will make your life a lot easier. Daily life bogs us down by sitting for long periods on Zoom calls with coworkers. We forget to move our bodies the way they should.
Bodybuilders and Tightness
This is also true for Bodybuilders in the fitness industry. Bodybuilders are known for their aesthetic physiques, vein popping pumps, crazy nutritional regiments, holistic lifestyle of suntanning their balls, and slonking down a dozen eggs for breakfast. Where the Bodybuilding community often lack is mobility. The ability to twist, turn, bend in ways that the normal person would roll over in awe. As Bodybuilders train, the simple act of lifting heavy weights and moving through the concentric and eccentric phases tightens up their muscles. As you gain size and strength you will naturally develop tight muscles. This is a normal phase that happens to everyone. The tightness of the muscles is beneficial to the muscle-mind connection necessary for your mind to turn on those muscles when needed.
The Golden Mean of Muscles
There’s a limit, or rather a Golden Mean if we want to call it that. You’ve heard before that your muscles can “feel tight” when stretched out. You’ll often feel this in the back of your neck when sitting at a desk for a long period of time. It’s not a good pain. Your muscles can also be too tight. This happens in the form of muscle knots where the muscle fascia hasn’t repaired itself properly in the striated way that it should be. Instead, it repairs itself in a cobweb fashion that creates the tightness and pain we know from muscle knots and trigger points. If you’re a Bodybuilder or regular gym-goer, you know what I mean. Understand your muscles have a Golden Mean in terms of its tightness and ability to contract at will through muscle-mind connection. How do we reach this Golden Mean? By balancing both the heavy lifting in the gym and stretching out using yoga.
Arguments Against Yoga
Some people will try and dissuade you not to do yoga. Perhaps they have a personal vendetta against it or they’ve read a bunch of Research Articles claiming that it isn’t necessary. Whatever the reason may be, you don’t need to be reduced to a data set. So here are some arguments they’ll claim against it. Some are well founded but it all comes down the context of the individual. If you are recently injured or with surgery, yoga likely isn’t for you and you should listen to your doctor.
Here are some arguments people will use against yoga:
- The formation of muscle tears.
- Creates herniated disks.
- Can create carpal tunnel.
- You can get heat exhaustion.
- Some people might create an environment of competition.
- Overstretching can cause your stretch reflex to kick in and can create more tightness over time.
Obviously take this situation into your own individual account. If any of these resonate with you then stop doing yoga and putting yourself in a compromised position. There are MANY other ways to get the stretching you need to stay loose and mobile. I hope these arguments against yoga don’t dissuade you to avoid yoga and get the stretching you need, especially as a Bodybuilder or regular gym-goer.
Arguments for Yoga to help Bodybuilders
Yoga has many benefits as well. These help Bodybuilders and the general population alike by keeping your bodies mobile, fluid, and loose enough that you’re able to bend over to tie your laces without feeling like you’re out of breath or even having your hamstrings shooting pain up your leg. If this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place dear Reader, and yoga will most definitely solve your problem if you’re a Bodybuilder or regular gym-goer.
Here are the benefits of yoga:
- Yoga involves the right movements of your body to stretch and relax your agonist and antagonist muscles.
- It brings properly alignment to your body to realign the damage caused by gravity consistently pulling down on your body.
- Yoga realigns joints and strengthen proper muscle groups necessary for the proper movement of your exercises in the gym.
- Helps to focus on excellent breathing techniques that are necessary for bracing your core during heavy PRs that you know and love.
- Treats sport injuries along with injury prevent by stretching the muscle tissue to heal properly in its striated way instead of the cobweb mess from scar tissue microtears.
- Mentally, yoga helps to unwind from the stresses of the outside world by bringing your mind back into your body through controlling your breathing and boosting circulation of red blood cells.
- It’s also a great way to end a training session by bringing blood back into the muscle fibers that have been damaged from weight training.
As you can see, there are many more benefits to doing yoga than there are downsides. The only downside you’ll have is not starting sooner, especially if you’re consistent about lifting heavy weights. Understand that your muscles will not magically become more loose over time with all the weight training that you’re doing. You need to actively stretch them out daily.
In terms of programming, I would incorporate anywhere from 10-30 minutes of yoga stretching 2-4 times per week; more if you’re lifting weights 5 to 6 days a week like a Bodybuilder. I highly recommend the Down Dog app. This app is where I do all my yoga stretches. You dictate your length of the session, which stretches you want to emphasize, change your difficulty level depending on your experience; and even change the voice and animations of the trainer! All for FREE. I have no affiliation with them whatsoever, but I do love their product and love sharing it with my tribe such as you dear Reader.
If you don’t know where to start on your fitness journey or need more accountability, then consider my Coaching Services.
Frank Zane | Powerful body calm mind