Is yoga better than strength training

Is yoga better than strength training? Do we know which of the two fitness disciplines is more effective for modern day fitness needs such as preventing lifestyle diseases and effective weight management?

Experts say it is unfair to consider either yoga or strength training as superior or inferior to each other. Strength and fitness coach, Arnav Sarkar, says, "Both have certain benefits that they alone provide best, and both have certain shortcomings which require practicing the other". Read on as he deciphers the yoga versus strength training debate for us...

What sparked the debate between yoga and strength training? There was a time when they believed that runners should not lift weights, and weightlifters should not run. These were the times when it was believed that different forms of training cannot be mixed, and thus a trainer promoted his form of exercise as the ultimate and complete form of training. Today, good coaches happen to know a bit of various types of training and even teach it to their clients, why? This is because it is very commonly agreed by most that various forms of training have various benefits to offer and for overall health one needs to mix different styles of training, thus the debate between yoga or strength training or any other exercise form for that matter.

What is the No.1 preventive measure against bone loss- yoga or strength training? For avoiding bone loss density or osteoporosis, strength training with bodyweight and preferably with added weights via barbells or dumbbells is known to be the best defense. This type of resistance training helps keep bones strong by causing the muscles and tendons to pull on the bones, which in turn stimulates bone cells to produce more bone. Again, even activities like running can create the type of load on the bones to help prevent it, but weight training in my opinion is the best.

But in yoga you tend to pull up your own body weight, which is equivalent to pulling up any kind of weights. How does this affect the debate? Bodyweight training does have the potential to build muscles. Infact a lot of old school gyms still begin a new trainee with only bodyweight training for the first few months before they allow them to touch weights. However while it may be good for beginners, for more advanced trainees it is best to add weights in their training to get better results. This is necessary because as one becomes accustomed and good at moving their own bodyweight, it becomes essential to add external weights to keep the results coming.

Are weights the best solution for building bulk?
A lot of food is best for building bulk. After that, in training, weights are far superior to any other form of training when it comes to building bulk. The best examples are bodybuilders, whose job is to build maximum bulk, they rely 90% on heavy weights to get the job done.

Is yoga a more well-rounded approach when compared to strength training?
I don't think so. While strength training is often believed to only help one get strong or build big muscles, the fact is that strength training has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lose fat, control Diabetes, keep the cardiovascular system strong, etc. As you can see, it provides a ton of health benefits and thus, it is unfair to say that strength training is not well rounded, or compared to Yoga is inferior.

What give muscles more strength - yoga or strength training?
Muscles do not understand whether it is Yoga or barbells, they simply respond to the intensity. And as far as the intensity of muscular force production is concerned, strength training is far higher, since it can be increased progressively as you get stronger, unlike Yoga which is limited to one's own bodyweight. To give a more real world example, whom would you rather avoid getting hit by, a 100 kg bodybuilder or a 65 kg Yoga guru? Or if you had to move a heavy object in your home, whom would you call for help?

For overall fitness, is it best to do a sum of both?
Absolutely! While strength training will strengthen your body and boost metabolism, Yoga will help keep your body flexible, and depending on the style of Yoga you do, it will also help keep your mind calm. So why should anyone choose either of the benefits, instead of going for all.

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