Want to get stronger? Here's why yoga may be the best option

If you're eager to develop muscular strength and endurance without lifting weights you should give yoga a shot

Man practices yoga
(Image credit: Getty)

Weight lifting is an effective way to build muscle mass and strength but it often requires equipment as well as adequate learning of correct technique to avoid injury. Perhaps you're on the hunt for an alternative and haven't yet considered a low-impact form of exercise. According to research, yoga practice can help improve both muscular strength and endurance. 

If you find certain types of physical activity triggers discomfort in your joints, you should consider taking one of the best supplements for joints to help relieve pain. It's also sensible to engage in more joint-friendly forms of strength training. 

Regular sessions of yoga can have favorable results and requires minimal equipment (all you'll need one of the best yoga mats ). A research paper published in the Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal recruited a group of Chinese adults to complete a yoga intervention. The scientists wanted to measure the effect yoga had on the participants health and the results proved to be very positive.

Divided into two groups, one lot completed 12 weekly 60-minute sessions of yoga while the others were used as a control group. Hatha yoga combines various different yoga poses with breathing techniques and is what the yoga group used in their 12 training sessions.

After the 12 week intervention, key findings from the study revealed that the yoga group experienced beneficial changes in cardiovascular enduranace, flexibility and in muscular strength and endurance. In particular, they reported 'significant favorable effects of the yoga intervention on muscular strength and endurance of upper body muscles and abdominal muscles in both men and women'.

Woman planks as she practices yoga at home

(Image credit: Getty)

The researchers discussed the findings in the conclusion of the study and although they couldn't determine exactly the mechanisms behind yoga's impact on strength-building, they did suggest that certain yoga postures achieve an 'optimal intensity', which helps to increase muscular strength and endurance.

This resonated in our I did yoga every day for 30 days challenge. We also found that yoga can help to connect your mind and body, helping you to better understand muscle engagement in yoga and other physical activities.

If you've ever tried to hold a chair pose or side plank for an extended period of time it's quite plausible to understand how much muscle engagement is required. When you add slow movements and deep breathing into the mix it's even clearer to see how this low-impact activity offers a versatile workout.

This exercise excels at using your own body weight to build and tone all your major muscle groups more. Plus, maintaining strength is essential as an adult since it helps to enhance your speed, stability, and mobility when carrying out daily tasks. Other research has revealed how yoga reduces ageing and extends your lifespan by lowering cellular ageing.

Diet is another key component for building strength. Always aim to consume a healthy portion of protein every day as this is essential for muscle growth, not forgetting it aids recovery. If your meals lack protein, there is the option to supplement this with a best protein powder for weight loss to add to something like your post-yoga smoothie or morning oats.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.