I think I’ve developed a very narrow view of strength training. This occurred to me yesterday while thinking about this week’s workout schedule:
Sunday – 5 km run + Yoga
Monday – Spin
Tuesday – BodyAttack
Wednesday – BodyPump
Thursday – Power Sweat
As I was reviewing my workouts, I thought, “Oops, I only strength trained once this week” (I usually aim for 3 strength workouts per week).
Then I wondered why I didn’t count my yoga sessions as strength training – it’s a weight-bearing activity, is it not?
I think I’ve been influenced by a certain school of thought that narrowly defines strength training as “lifting heavy.” In other words, if you’re not under an Olympic bar that weighs more than you do, you’re not really getting a strength workout.
I’ve dabbled in this type of weight lifting (sort of – I still have yet to squat over 80 pounds) but not consistently enough to see any measurable results. The visible changes I’ve seen in my body can mostly be attributed to BodyPump, a class that many “serious” weight lifters roll their eyes at because of the high reps and comparatively lighter weight involved.
Awhile back, I bucked conventional wisdom and decided to stick with Pump instead of free weights. I had been pushing myself to do free weights workouts, even though I didn’t love them, and I was pressuring myself to lift heavier and heavier because I thought that was the only “real” way to strength train and see muscle definition. Taking time off to train for a half marathon while still doing BodyPump made me (accidentally) discover that I could get results from BodyPump alone.
So what about yoga? Can it replace lifting weights as a strength workout?
In the past, I would have said no way. Now, my answer is: I don’t know, I’ve never tried it.
I think it’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to fitness. With a closed mind, you could be missing out on an effective and enjoyable workout simply because you’ve already decided that it doesn’t count.
With that in mind, I’m giving yoga a try. As I mentioned before, I’m planning to get an unlimited monthly pass at Power Yoga Canada and plan to go at least three times a week. And while I don’t plan to cut out my other activities completely, I’ll certainly have to cut back. I’m curious to see what happens when yoga becomes my primary strength workout.
I might lose muscle. I might decide after a month that I hate yoga and my current obsession was just a phase. But at least I can say I’ve tried it before I discredit it.
Do you consider yoga a strength workout?
Is there only one effective way to strength train?