Yoga + Strength training


Because years of weight training causes your muscles to tighten up and yoga can help loosen them. Because weight training tends to focus on certain muscles while leaving others weak due to the artificial nature of the movements, and yoga can help me strengthen those smaller muscles that don’t get worked out in the gym. Because yoga is calming to me while weight training gets me “all worked up” and I like to have both calm and excitement in my life. Because weight training helps muscles lift heavy things for short periods of time, and yoga helps build stamina. Because I want the best of both words.

Just not if one world has a negative impact on the other.


You can consider doing Yoga asanas before your weight-lifting routine. You want to get enough rest between weight-lifting sessions to recover, regardless of Yoga.


I’m seriously considering adding yoga into my workouts and wouldn’t mind hearing some thoughts on yoga for building strength.

My interests here are in gaining overall strength but most importantly, strengthening my joints.
I workout using bodyweight exercises (push ups and chin ups are the compound exercises that I use, after that it’s all specialised stuff to isolate particular muscles), these are safer than using iron (and produce excellent results, I might add) but it seems I’m capable of injuring myself even by using push ups.

I’m all about functional strength, and so without something to help my joints my progress is going to be seriously hindered. Most of my body is in good condition but my elbows, wrists and knees are starting to suffer.
The small amount of yoga that I am aware of hardly touches these areas, so does anyone have any recommendations?

This I’m sure that you can help me with, but the larger question I’m not so sure about:
Can yoga be used to build great strength in muscles?
I’m a labourer and the nature of my job demands more and more strength. Can yoga help me with this too?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


This is a resurrection of an old thread so I’m not sure who or how many will jump in here Aaron.

The answer to your question is “no” when you are asking about muscular strength.
When you are asking about muscular strength the requirement is increasing load. Yoga does not work with increasing load (much).

However if you are talking about pranic strength, that which comes from the life force in the body and the human being’s ability to channel and direct it, then yoga could develop such a thing. The caveat is that most people are not willing or able to have a robust commitment and therefore unable or unwilling to have a robust practice. It is not simply doing some poses that would deliver such a thing to the aspirant.


Have you got any thoughts on how I could go about stretching (okay… strengthening) my joints?
Or since I have so little knowledge of what yoga physically does, a more blunt question would be “my elbow hurts, and my joints tend to be my weakest points, how can I fix this?” (most injuries caused by over training, slightly too much intensity and too often).
Now, I know a lot of people with banged up bodies who sing the praises of yoga for reducing or even eliminating similar injuries. Surely it can help?

Also, sorry about bringing back such an old thread, I intended it to be a new topic but I’m guessing a moderator moved my post thinking it would be more appropriate here? That or I managed to accidentally post it in an appropriate thread? Hmmm…


I don’t believe a mod would move you in such a way. It is unlikely they would move a post into a thread though they may move it to a more pertinent section. Either way, there’s rarely a need to apologize here. It is quite fine.

What one does for the joint issue(s) depends on what is going on with the joints.

I am not fond of the broad-brush perception that “yoga” helps this and that. Instead I prefer the construct that some yoga (which is more than asana) shared in a certain way, practiced in a certain way, can support the body’s own inherent ability to heal. Perhaps it’s just semantics but I don’t think so. It is equally possible to have “yoga” injure or damage as it is to have it heal and repair. Just as too much water can drown the kidneys or tainted water can toxify the body so too can a careless or misguided yoga practice.

The approach would be two-fold; things to DO and things to AVOID.
Additionally, with any dis-ease, malady, or injury the three-prong focus on asana/pranayama, lifestyle/nutrition, and emotional work is most effective.

I have hundreds of ideas. But they are conjecture. It is always best to work with a well trained teacher skilled in yoga therapeutics. That having been said, your more blunt question sounds like one posed when the student has tendonitis or bursitis. In those cases it is best to rest the joint, provide it time to do the healing needed and support that with the best foods you can - organic foods with a focus on those that are deep green leafies and those that fall in the category of being alkaline in the body.


Okay, here’s what I’ve got so far.

Rest this injury. Do what I can to speed up the healing process if I can but ultimately it still needs time to rest.

Then equally importantly I should not re-injure it. (i.e. lifestyle)

I can do that, it’s usually my own blind enthusiasm that causes me these injuries. That can be tempered.

Still, as someone heavily focussed on strength I cannot help but notice that these injuries highlight a weakness. My elbows, wrists and knees. Surely you are aware of a few asanas that if practiced appropriately (and only practiced when injuries aren’t present) would allow these joints to handle a little more stress?


I combine yoga and weight lifting, I’ve been lifting for 8 years and doing yoga for 4 years. It can be done without too much interference. The bottom line, is what are your goals and what would you prefer to do to progress in the direction of those goals.


Hi Peter,

I think you have said it yourself, the fact that you have so little knowledge about what yoga does physically, will make it irresponsible to suggest asanas as asanas are best practiced with a skilled and trained teacher. I would like to suggest that you seek a teacher/yoga therapist to help you, in the end you will find this much more satisfying and beneficial than reading up on a host of asanas and doing them and eventually risk injuring yourself further.


I missed a Peter in this thread. To whom is the addressed?

Thank you,


Sorry, my blonde moment for the week, to Aaron. Sorry mate. :slight_smile:


It is action in asana not asana alone that will stabilize the joints.
Presuming you are an otherwise healthy human being and you are dealing with muscle weakness that is facilitating unstable joints…

For example Adho Mukha Svanasana, when done properly, keeps the humerus secure with it’s joint (glenohumeral) and can align the radius/ulna with the humerus. Done improperly the humerus is moved away from the security of the shoulder joint and the arm bones are malaligned.

The same principals hold true for standing poses. Some can train the femur to stay in it’s socket while the imporper ways will hang on the ligaments.

There are specific ways to stabilize the knee joint which do not specifically apply to the hip as the joints themselves are different. One is a hinge joint and the other a ball and socket joint.

[QUOTE=Aaron;10271]Okay, here’s what I’ve got so far.
Rest this injury. Do what I can to speed up the healing process if I can but ultimately it still needs time to rest.

Then equally importantly I should not re-injure it. (i.e. lifestyle)

I can do that, it’s usually my own blind enthusiasm that causes me these injuries. That can be tempered.

Still, as someone heavily focussed on strength I cannot help but notice that these injuries highlight a weakness. My elbows, wrists and knees. Surely you are aware of a few asanas that if practiced appropriately (and only practiced when injuries aren’t present) would allow these joints to handle a little more stress?[/QUOTE]


Pandara, thanks for your concern as I am new to yoga but provided I’m only dabbling in more basic asanas I’m very confident that I can avoid injury.

InnerAthlete, thanks for your suggestions.


I have successfully incorporated yoga with other work out types. In addition to yoga I am a martial artist and I lift weights. I lift weights two or three nights a week after my martial arts training. I practice yoga the other days of the week. This seems to work well for me.


Hey all,

I realize I’m way late getting into this thread, but I have long been interested in the integration of yoga posture practice with strength training. As a personal trainer and yoga teacher, this has been a real passion of mine. To be sure, asana practice in the classical sense, is intended to bring about comfortable stability in the body such that one can reduce physical discomforts/distractions while turning attention inward toward breath, eventually toward the nature of the various projections of the mind, and ultimately toward the divine nature of self.

That said, there is much value in terms of sustainable personal happiness in simply establishing the body in comfortable stability. For this, I feel a combination of yoga posture practice and strength training can be extremely effective if the overall design of the program makes sense. I have many suggestions for how this might work, but I cannot link to other resources until I have posted 15 times. Anyway, feel free to PM me if you’re interested in conversing more. Plus, look into Circular Strength Training and Prasara Yoga. Just google them.

Hope ya’ll have a good one!



So, I figured it might be somewhat useful to explain just a bit more about my approach to physical practice, if anyone is at all interested.

Basically, Circular Strength Training is a three-winged approach to establishing comfortable stability and reducing fear-reactivity. 1) Joint Mobility Work creates space in the joints, lubricates joints with fresh blood, and gradually helps increase mobility. 2) Resistance Training insures maintenance of muscle tissue as we age and really targets the fast-twitch muscle fiber types. 3) Compensatory Yoga finally integrates and brings into balance the various global tension lines in the body.

These three elements can be woven quite effectively into a single workout and into an ongoing training cycle. Also of value in terms of avoiding overtraining is to build recovery days into your training cycle and pay attention to how you wave your intensity level from workout to workout. Also, I don’t believe it to be smart training advice to continue one workout regimen for more than 4-6 weeks at a time.

Again, in terms of classical yoga, all this leads up to being able to sit comfortably for long periods of time and look inward, which is a truly rewarding experience; but the power and ease of movement that comes with this sort of training is also a reward in itself.




Interesting post. I would be curious to read your source(s) for blood lubricating joints. My understanding of anatomy is that synovial fluid lubricates joints, not blood.


You’re correct, InnerAthlete … perhaps my language was a bit clumsy.

Synovial fluid indeed lubricates the joints. It also provides much-needed nutrition to the interior areas of the joint capsules. But from where does this nutrition come? The blood stream. And where do waste products from the joint capsules go? The blood stream.

But there is no direct blood supply to the joint capsules themselves. In the end joints get nutrition from the blood stream via diffusion through several layers of tissue, beginning with the capillaries, and all this happens thanks to movement. The heart itself will not pump blood out of the capillaries into surrounding tissues. Movement causes contraction of the capillaries, which opens tiny valves, freeing fresh blood supply, which then diffuses nutrients into the joints and waste products out.

Quoting the book, Management of Common Musculoskeletal Disorders:

“Intermittent compression and distraction of joint surfaces must occur for an adequate exchange of nutrients and waste products to take place … The three primary machanisms by which synovial joints undergo normal compression and distraction are the following: 1) Weight bearing in lower extremeties and spinal joints, 2) Intermittent contraction of muscles crossing a joint, and 3) Twisting and untwisting of the joint capsule as the joint moves toward and away from the close-packed position.”

The joint mobility work indicated in a program like CST, and an effective combination of strength training (particularly movements like the squat, the deadlift, etc.) and mixed-mode yoga posture practice are in my humble opinion, the best way to maintain comfortable stability for life.

Glad to have found this thread …


What distinguishes “fresh” blood supply from stale blood supply?

What is “compensatory yoga” and what is it compensating for?

What is “fear-reactivity”?




  1. Good question about fresh versus stale blood supply, and I’m not sure I have a good answer. I suppose a fresh blood supply just means oxygenated arterial blood being carried to the body from the heart. Not sure there’s really anything like stale blood, so perhaps the phrase “fresh blood supply” is not the most accurate, though it seems helpful in getting the point across.

  2. In my practice compensatory movement, or compensatory yoga is simply compensating for events that leave behind habitual tension, or undue residual tension in certain areas of the myofascial network. Obviously a certain amount of tension is necessary to keep our bodies from simply being lumps of tissue on the floor, but activities ranging from trauma to overtraining to sitting at a computer desk all day create pockets of undue tension. Compensatory yoga is meant to compensate for these events and return balance to the various global tension lines in the body. In terms of what compensatory yoga looks like, well, you probably know as well as I do, that will vary from individual to individual.

  3. Fear-reactivity is a physical reaction to trauma, stress, or the expection of trauma or stress. This can be seen most easily when we accidentally push a glass off a table. We immediately cringe and brace for impact. This is the physical manifestation of the emotional expectation of injury (injury to ourselves, others, or to something we perceive to have value). Fear-reactivity has many more subtle manifestations as well, such as a person’s tendency to slump and look at the ground when in the presence of someone who emotionally abuses them. Yoga is fantastic for undoing the effects of (or at least the degree of) fear-reactivity, because we are placing ourselves in odd physical positions and focussing on our breath in the process, which begins to unravel the knee-jerk nature of fear-reactivity. Really, breath awareness is the key, in my opinion, to unraveling fear-reactivity.

Be well …