For some yogis, this post may offend, or at least seem like a joke of a workout.
However, I assure you that doing superset yoga and weightlifting workouts is no joke. It’s actually very effective and saves a great deal of time in the gym (or working out at home).
It’s not often you see people who lift weights stretching between sets or after a weight lifting workout. You might see the odd stretching of the chest muscle, but that’s about. During my pre-yoga weight lifting days, that’s about all I would do. I could push some serious weight, but was about as flexible as a 2 X 4 chunk of wood. Back pain
I discovered yoga by chance in the bookstore. I stumbled upon Beryl Birch’s “Power Yoga” book. I was interested because the yoga routine was extremely physical. I did Power Yoga for a number of years while weight lifting (sometimes I’d take a break from weight lifting).
Since my Power Yoga discovery, I’ve been a big believer in the power OF yoga, regardless what type of workout is your focus. Whether you’re a marathon runner, tennis player, body builder, football tight end, yoga can help improve performance. What does yoga do for me?
Yoga helps me focus and dramatically improved my flexibility. I’m far more flexible at age 37 than I was when I was 18.
The trouble with a lot of yoga routines is…
They take way too long. Pick up any yoga book and the routines call for 30 to 60 minutes straight. I don’t mind doing yoga for 30 to 60 minutes once or twice a week, but it’s not going to happen on a weight training day.
My solution is to superset yoga with my weight lifting routines. How do I superset yoga with my lifting workouts?
It’s simple. In between sets of weights, I do a yoga pose (or two poses). Assuming I do 15 sets of weight lifting, I’ll get about 15 minutes of yoga/stretching done over the course of my weight routine. Often that’s more than enough stretching for me. Sometimes I’ll do another 10 minutes post-weights.
Sometimes I’ll do one set of weight lifting followed by a minute of yoga. Other times I’ll do two sets of weight lifting (usually a duo superset) followed by 30 to 45 seconds of a yoga pose (or two).
Planning Out Your Yoga Supersets
The key is to fit in all the major stretches through the course of a weight lifting/yoga superset routine. The major yoga moves are:
Forward bend Backward bend Inversion Twist Balance pose Standing
There’s also core, but I reserve those moves for my abdominal workouts. Examples of my weight lifting / yoga workout supersets
Once you understand the basics and get a few yoga poses under your belt, there’s pretty much an unlimited number of combinations. The following examples are for illustrative purposes only.
Example Yoga / Weight Lifting Superset
The first example is a duo superset – one set of weights followed by a mini-yoga session. The weights session is chest and back.
Exercise 1: Bench Press. Hold each yoga pose for 1 minute.
BP set 1 /Standing forward bend BP set 2 / Downward facing dog BP set 3 / Upward facing dog
Exercise 2: Incline Press
IP set 1 / Static lunch (Warrior) – do each leg for 30 seconds each IP set 2 / Upward facing dog IP set 3 / Downward facing dog
Exercise 3: Lat Pulldowns
LP set 1 / Seated forward bend with legs in a V LP set 2 / Seated twist (each side for 30 seconds) LP set 3 / Straight-leg forward bend
Exercise 4: Seated Row
SR set 1 / Cobra SR set 2 / Shoulder stand SR set 3 / Plow
End the workout with a few more winding down yoga poses such as:
Fish Lying down twists (right leg across body to the side, then do left leg across body to the right side) Baby pose Savasana
TOTAL WORKOUT TIME: 28 MINUTES
A few notes about the above yoga/weight lifting superset routine:
If you prefer doing 9 exercises (or more) per muscle, it’s no problem. Just add more yoga poses or do some poses twice.
I find doing yoga sun salutations is a fantastic warm up routine for weight lifting sessions. Therefore, you could do 3 to 6 sun salutations to kick off the above yoga / lifting superset workout.
Where Can You Learn About Yoga Poses?
The internet is loaded with yoga websites. If you’re new to yoga, start with the basic poses. All the poses I set out above are basic yoga poses suitable for beginners.
Yoga Journal is a fantastic resource for yoga poses.
What Are the Benefits of Doing Yoga and Weight Lifting Supersets?
Speed up the time you spend working out (kill 2 birds with 1 stone). Relieve boredom – I don’t like sitting on a bench between sets. Improve flexibility which is fantastic and arguably critical for any level of fitness. It’s actually an excellent way to rest between weight sets.