It is a classic East Vs West battle that has been fought for decades, with experts on both sides having their say on which training method is the best. Being fitness lovers, we at InstallingMuscles like both. But, the very thought is intriguing and so we set out to dig into the subject checking facts and figures to come up with an impartial answer based on 5 key fitness metrics. Read on, to know how the mystery unfolds.
Round One – Overall Strength
Overall strength is a factor that is very important. In this harsh world a show of solidarity & strength is very important and few can argue about that. Besides its obvious advantages, strength can also be a big turn on for ladies who like those bulging biceps. It is a sure shot sign of masculinity.
Strength training by using weights is one way of achieving all the above mentioned desirable attributes. The world strong man contest is testimony to the fact. Increase in muscle mass is the foremost gain that a person experiences as a result. Explosive strength that high performance athletes require can also be gained by a weight training regimen.
In contrast, to the heart pumping, muscle tearing form of exercise, the yoga relies on body weight for most of its exercises. Muscle mass gain is a factor that is not usually associated with yoga. Muscle strengthening can be achieved by yogic practice, but it is in no way comparable to the one achieved by the weight training regimen. Moreover, explosive strength is another factor that yoga loses out to its competitor in this round.
Round one goes to Weight training.
Round Two – Flexibility
Big muscles often make for a great viewing, but ask them to twist and turn and they become a pain in your arse. Individuals addicted to weight training are prone to lifting heavy weights which results in bulging and often stiff muscles. Such muscles limit range of motion. A famous example, can be that of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who needed an uncharacteristically long spoon just for the simple act of eating his food.
One of the foremost benefits of yoga practice is improved flexibility. It is hardly a myth, that regular yoga practitioners perform the most unbelievable acts of flexibility. If that’s not proof enough, try and ask the newbies, how they feel? Even a month of regular yoga practice can lead to a quantum leap in the flexibility levels, be it in the groin area, rotator cuff etc.
Round two goes to Yoga.
Round Three – Stamina
Stamina is an extremely important factor for a fit body. An individual’s stamina is testimony to his superior health and capabilities. Long range runners, need it and the way they achieve is, by weight training. Squats with weights, running with ankle weights are but a part of the routine to fire up the lower body, to go that extra mile.
Yoga fairs pretty well in this segment with its range of asanas like the Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward facing bow pose), Ustrasana (Camel pose) etc. The aforementioned asanas improve endurance in muscles and hence they don’t fatigue easily leading to improved stamina.
But, all this is good in the lay man’s context, a high performance athlete like a footballer, marathon runners simply can’t do with just the help of body weight. They need that extra kick and weight training is what provides it to them.
Round three goes to Weight training.
Round Four – Immunity
Immunity is the body’s natural ability to fight off infections and disease. According to a study conducted in 1996, by the Tufts University in Boston, it was found that aggressive weight lifting had little or no impact on the immune system. It acknowledged that moderate weight lifting did help to improve immune system by reducing stress, eventually allowing the body to create more white blood cells.
While there is no such proven method in weight training to boost immunity, yoga in contrast has its own way of dealing with things. The method involves increasing circulation of Lymph – a clear, watery fluid which carries out the task of flushing out toxins and bacteria’s via the Lymph node.
It works on the principle that when the head is at a level below the heart, the lymph moves into the respiratory organs and when you return to a standing position the gravity acts on the Lymph, resulting in it filtering out the unwanted bacteria via the Lymph nodes. Asanas like the Uttanasan and Sarvangasana play a crucial role in this endeavor.
Round four goes to Yoga.
Round Five – Peace of Mind
It cannot be bought, it isn’t available outside. Peace of mind is that one elusive entity that every human seeks, whether rich or poor.
Weight training, for all its pompousness, lacks terribly in this department. The design and makeup of the entire activity is such that it majorly benefits the physical side. There is, however a fleeting benefit that it provides to the mental side by reducing the stress hormone Cortisol, resulting in an improvement in the person’s mood. But moods are bound to change in an instant and as such it can only be termed as a stop gap solution.
Yoga, on the other hand is more wholesome. It consists of exercises that are not only designed to achieve a healthy body, but also a superior mind. Patanjali, the father of Yoga provided the world this great practice nearly 5000 years ago, which included asanas like Padmasana, Savasana etc. which are essential to calm the mind. Prolonged practice of these asanas can help the person to achieve greater control over the mind resulting in better health, family and personal life.
Round five goes to Yoga.
So it is clear from the above factors that both have played a vital role in helping people to stay fit. But, in the battle to be the Big Daddy of fitness the Yoga edges out Weight training hands down.