Benefits of Yoga for Cross Training

Article by guest blogger Andrew Obrecht.
Photos by Blush & Branch.

Your body does a lot for you, especially if you put it through tough cross training workouts. Yoga is the perfect active recovery workout for your non-training days to let your body grow and lengthen, while also benefiting from the meditative side. Like anything, results improve when there is a balance and breaking out of a routine. Yoga will help balance out your strength training workouts and use muscles that may be getting missed. If you can’t make it to a yoga class, incorporate yoga poses into your post-workout stretch routine. Adding yoga consistently to your fitness routine has many benefits for cross training.

1. Increases flexibility and range of motion
Start with a beginner’s class or restorative poses to get your muscles used to the different movements. Just like any sort of training, your body will evolve into the movements the more you practice. Stretching out your muscles and joints will increase your flexibility and improve your range of motion for your other workouts. This will help you push past plateaus and goals in your other workouts because your body will be able to do more, and reach farther.

2. Improves stamina, balance, and stability
Continually moving and breathing will help train your muscles to work longer and hold the poses. It’s a different kind of muscle training and will help with your stamina in your other workouts. Not only will holding poses help your stamina, but it will challenge your balance and stability as well. In yoga, your core is the key to staying up right and moving into more challenging poses. Without having to do endless sit ups, the whole yoga workout relies on your core to keep you balanced. Strengthening it will improve your balance and stability which you will see as improvements in your other workouts.

3. Prevents injury
Yoga helps improve muscle imbalances, relieve muscle tightness and the increased flexibility will help prevent injuries. Yoga helps strengthen all muscles including the little ones that don’t get used as often in regular day activities and other workouts. These muscles often surround the bigger muscles and other joints; strengthening them will help protect your bigger muscles that get used during your other cross training workouts and help prevent you from getting injured.

4. Improves posture and breathing
Whether you’re a runner, cyclist or body builder, similar and routine movements can affect your posture. Stretching out your body during yoga can counter-act those movements and encourage your body to have proper posture during cross training workouts and your every day life. For example, if you’re an avid cyclist all those hours spent hunched over on the bike can be paired with chest opening poses and hip openers.

Similarly, the breathing practiced in yoga can be transitioned into your cross training workouts to improve your movements. Breathing can be overlooked and not thought about while you’re running or lifting, but it’s just as important to practice breathing as it is to open your body through yoga.

5. Boosts other workouts
All the benefits of practicing yoga will boost your other workouts. Increased flexibility, balance and range of motion will allow you to lift more, run faster and workout longer. Incorporating yoga into your fitness routine will balance out your body, muscles and movements which benefits not only your workouts but your every day life as well. As long as you don’t push your body past it’s limits, even while stretching, you will see the benefits of yoga for your cross training in no time.

2016-09-16_-_YYC_Cycle_--_1L2A1448Andrew Obrecht is one of the Founders and Motivators of popular spin studio YYC Cycle. The studio was founded by three ambitious, born-and-raised Calgarians who saw an opportunity to offer an innovative, dynamic form of group exercise that breaks the mold of traditional indoor cycling. Along with their team of Motivators, YYC Cycle provides the community with an incredible fitness and lifestyle experience that extends beyond the studio doors. There’s a reason Andrew has been described as a Fire Starter, Passion Seeker and Connector: Much the way he does in spin class, Andrew will inspire and motivate you in all areas of your life.