For many years, I’ve enjoyed the attributes, and the results, of working out with weights at my gym. It’s a national chain gym, which provides the most elaborate, sophisticated and creative exercise machines for specific muscles, plus, treadmills, stationary bikes, rowing machines, racquetball courts, swimming pool, saunas, and aerobics classes of all kinds.
But, even with all of that variety, my favorite place is still the free weight room. Don’t get me wrong, I use the other areas frequently, but for the purist, the free weights are still the place for a great work out of muscle building and toning.
The trouble with most exercises you will do in a gym is they cause shortening and tightening of the muscles. When you lift a barbell for bicep curls the objective is to build the two heads of the bicep, add strength and definition.
The same would be for the squat, which is designed to strengthen the legs. The hamstring, quadriceps, calves, lower and upper back are all called upon to hoist the weight onto your shoulders, and bring your body, into an upright, standing position and back to a squat again. All of these muscles, and many more that are used in the course of a daily routine, will tighten the tissue as the constant contractions push to exhaustion. The result is short, tight muscles that limit flexibility and range of motion.
Yoga poses have long been used to stretch and lengthen muscles, so that increased flexibility can make everyday activities easier. By its very nature yoga is slow, giving the muscles, through a multitude of poses, time to stretch, eliminate toxins, and bring balance to the body once again.
From my vantage point, yoga and lifting weights go perfectly together…lift weights three days a week and do on yoga two days. The result will be a body of perfect tone; possibly larger muscles if that is your goal, better balance in bodily function, improved focus, concentration and breathing.
Used in tandem, free weight workouts and yoga will provide you with a more harmonized exercise regime and an overall sense of calmness that only comes from the quiet of yoga.
Keith Edwin Renninson is co-owner, along with Jeffrey Forman, of Golden Years Videos, LLC a production company dedicated to offering exercise videos for those over 50 or of any age who are rehabilitating from an accident or illness.
Renninson is an avid exercise and yoga enthusiast. Now in his late 50’s, he still races bicycles and regularly skis the black diamond runs in Colorado where he lives. For many years, a bona fide gym rat, Renninson still loves to lift free weights and use exercise machines.
You can contact Renninson or read more about his company and the excellent videos they have available at: http://www.goldenyearsvideos.com