How to Combine Strength Training and Yoga for Maximum Flexibility and Power

Cathe Friedrich doing strength training and Yoga in her Lift, Move & Restore workout program


Are you ready to take your workouts to the next level? Strength training and yoga are a dynamic duo and there are reasons to include both in your fitness. This potent combo empowers you to sculpt lean muscle, skyrocket your strength, become more flexible, and improve your balance.

We think of yoga and strength training as being two different fitness domains, but the two disciplines have synergy. For example, yoga teaches you about the mind-body connection and how to breathe properly. You can use the skills you gain from yoga to take your strength training workouts to the next level. The mind-muscle connection and how you breathe matters when you do strength-training exercises too.

By combining these two powerful practices, you can unlock your body’s full potential and achieve a well-rounded, healthy physique. Let’s take a closer look at each, why you need them, and how you can tap into their synergy.

The Benefits of Strength Training

Strength training is your ticket to building strength and muscle mass but it’s also necessary for preventing the loss of critical muscle tissue as you age. Not only does losing muscle mass increase your risk of falling, but it negatively affects your metabolic health. Here’s a summary of why you need it:

  • Increased muscle mass and strength
  • Improved bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Enhanced metabolism and fat burning
  • Better posture and balance
  • Reduced risk of injury in daily activities and sports
  • Improves insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control
  • Promotes better physical functioning
  • Improves cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and other risk factors
  • Enhances flexibility, balance, and mobility
  • Boosts mood, reduces stress, and helps alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Increases self-esteem, body image, and self-efficacy
  • Improves cognitive function, brain health, and protects against age-related cognitive decline

But there’s another element of health and total body fitness that you shouldn’t ignore – flexibility. That’s where yoga comes in.

The Power of Yoga

Although yoga is an ancient practice with a long history, its combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation is still relevant today. Some of the key benefits of yoga include:

  • Increased flexibility and range of motion
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Enhanced breathing and lung capacity
  • Greater body awareness and mindfulness

While you won’t get super strength or beefy muscle from practicing yoga, it helps “lengthen” your muscles, for better flexibility and mobility. When you’re more flexible and have excellent mobility, you can use better form when you strength train and achieve a fuller range of motion.

So, yoga by itself isn’t a major muscle builder, it helps you build greater functional strength. Plus, if you hold yoga poses for a longer time, it increases the time your muscles are under tension. This is a stimulus for muscle growth.

Plus, the mind-body benefits of yoga help balance out the more stressful demands of intense strength training. It’s a way to build a more balanced workout. In addition, certain poses such as Chaturanga Dandasana, Plank, and Warrior poses have strengthening benefits for your arms, shoulders, core, and legs.

While yoga alone may not be enough to maximize muscle growth for serious strength athletes or bodybuilders, it is an effective way to build and maintain functional strength, especially when you combine it with more intense strength training.

The Perfect Combination

So, how can you combine strength training and yoga to get this type of fitness synergy? Here are a few tips:

Use yoga poses as a cool-down after an intense strength training session. The breathing and mind-body benefits will help your body recover. You can also use it for a warm-up. Why not add a few sun salutations to your warm-up, along with gentle stretches?

Another option is to strength train one day and do yoga the next, as a recovery session. For example, you might do strength training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Yoga sessions give your muscles a chance to recover, while you’re still working on flexibility, balance, and functionality.

Use yoga poses to target specific muscle groups. How about a warrior pose for strengthening your core and leg or a bridge pose for your glutes? Who says you have to do straight strength training? Yoga poses can be part of the mix too.

Take advantage of the breathing and mindfulness aspects of yoga. Focus on your breathing when you lift weights and on the muscles you’re working. Taking this approach will help you get more out of every workout you tackle.

Don’t tackle advanced yoga poses during a strength training session. You need significant flexibility and focus to do advanced yoga poses, like arm balances and inversions. Don’t attempt them when your muscles are exhausted from strength training. If you do, you could end up injured. Plus, your form will be subpar.


Hopefully, you see the value of incorporating yoga into your strength routine. Doing so will improve your fitness and well-being while improving your flexibility and performance when you strength train. It’s a way to improve your range of motion on strength-training exercises, like squats, and help you build a balanced physique. Plus, it’s beneficial for your mind. Imagine how the breathing approaches that yoga teaches will help your mental outlook? You’ll have better focus when you strength train too, as yoga teaches focus and mindfulness. So, what are you waiting for? Integrate yoga poses into your strength training. It’s a match made in heaven!


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  • Carter S. Is yoga strength training? livescience.com. Published September 23, 2022. Accessed June 8, 2024. https://www.livescience.com/is-yoga-strength-training
  • “Why Yoga Is Good for Your Body and Brain, According….” https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_yoga_is_good_for_your_body_and_brain_according_to_science.
  • Gothe NP, Khan I, Hayes J, Erlenbach E, Damoiseaux JS. Yoga Effects on Brain Health: A Systematic Review of the Current Literature. Brain Plast. 2019 Dec 26;5(1):105-122. doi: 10.3233/BPL-190084. PMID: 31970064; PMCID: PMC6971819.”14 Benefits of Strength Training, Backed by Science – Healthline.” 16 Aug. 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/benefits-of-strength-training.
  • Gothe NP, McAuley E. Yoga Is as Good as Stretching-Strengthening Exercises in Improving Functional Fitness Outcomes: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Mar;71(3):406-11. doi:

Related Articles By Cathe Friedrich:

Combining Aerobic Exercise and Yoga: A Path to Improved Heart Health

5 Reasons You Need Yoga If You Strength Train

5 Ways Yoga Can Improve How You Strength Train

Is a Yoga Workout Effective for Building Strength?

4 Benefits of a Relaxing Yoga Workout if You Do High-Intensity Exercise

Related Cathe Friedrich Yoga DVDs:

Perfect Flow Exercise DVD

Yoga Max Exercise DVD

Yoga Relax Exercise DVD

Hi, I'm Cathe

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