I don’t typically train clients for bulk, nor do I do Crossfit, so I would appreciate some recommendations in this area.
I have a growing group of weight lifters who are taking my gentle yoga class. They do Crossfit and heavy lifting, and they take class both for the restorative benefits as well as the mobility that they need in order to do some of the lifting. So far, so good. BUT, a couple of them are working on their physical aesthetic, no for competition but to “look good.” They want to ensure that yoga enhances their performance and contributes to their goals.
1) One asked if there is a relationship between the increased mobility in yoga and muscle production, whether positive or negative. Is anyone aware of scientific data that shows a relationship between yoga / stretch / mobility and increase gains in bulk? I have read about the timing of stretching, that a lot of stretching immediately before a heavy lifting workout can de-stabilize in the short term. …but what about on a rest day? Will it contribute to their ability to make strength gains?
2) Any other considerations I should be aware of? At this time, the four men who lift together are taking my gentle class in the evening after a morning heavy lift. I think they take one other instructors’ class on another day.
An interesting thing I learned recently, regarding the neurological component of grip strength, is that doing MELT hand and foot treatment before heavy lifting can improve grip strength.
That was discussed at our MELT training, but I finally got 2 of my heavy-lifting coworkers to try it. Grip felt more steadfast.
Interesting discussion. I don’t have any paper citations or data to throw your way on this, nor have I ever taken a yoga class (sorry, it’s on my list!). But here’s my two cents anyway: I agree with your boss. I’m buying the “injury prevention” angle. Any type of training that improves flexibility, mobility, breathing, etc. is a winning situation (as you know), especially in the world of hardcore strength training and bodybuilding. It’s pretty tough to keep the strength & muscle mass gains coming if you’re constantly nursing injuries, even minor ones. I only wish that I had the common sense to do that type of training back in my own bodybuilding heyday. I think you just stumbled onto a whole new market Nancy – “Musclehead Yoga” (sorry!). I’m interested to hear other responses.
As a follow-up, I sent a message to my boss, who is a level one Crossfit trainer. While he didn’t link me to any scientific data, here were his thoughts. Copied and pasted directly with no edits.
The best gains muscular or strength from yoga would be due to injury pre or rehab, and better muscular recruitment via improved muscular function. The factor that is athlete specific is mobility. Most athletes don’t have the mobility to get into proper positions for weightlifting (overhead squat, overhead press, squat, and sumo deadlift to name a few) leading to improper muscle recruitment patterns. Good mobility equals better mechanics leading to size and strength gains.
Hello Nancy Korf,
Great question; I look forward to the responses. Thank you, Ariadne, for your tips.
Yes, I believe that yoga will enhance their performance and contribute to their goals. Yoga balances the body, improves oxygen flow and lengthens muscles which makes room for more growth. Yoga on a rest day is a great idea; keep on cross training.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.