Michael Grogan is a Personal Trainer/Movement Coach in Melbourne CBD & Clifton Hill, Australia. He uses a combination of Gymnastic Strength, Advanced Mobility and Barbell Strength & Power exercises to achieve increased levels of performance and body composition with his clients. For more information follow him on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaelgrogan_movement/ facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelGroganMovement and for enquiries contact [email protected]
Yoga has two main benefits grouped into the physical practice and mental practice. As I am not a master of yoga I cannot delve deep into the mental side, I am not at that level. What I will talk about however is the side that draws most people to yoga in the first place, that being the physical benefits enjoyed by a regular yoga practice.
I have spent a number of years practicing yoga as a student and after getting over my inner masculine ego’s initial fears that “yoga is only for chicks” and that I may be in a room lying in a circle holding hands chanting ‘oooommmm’ for 90 mins – I quickly realised that both of these fears were untrue and that there is an immense benefit available to males who regularly practice yoga.
Lets not get it twisted – If you are disciplined with your mobility/flexibility work I do believe you can achieve the physical benefits yoga provides without heading into a yoga class. The thing is, I think most people would be hard pressed to actually say they are disciplined enough to simulate 60-90min of dynamic lengthening work they would get in a yoga class – by doing it on your own.
What I intend to do with this article is explain some of the benefits of yoga from a male perspective and why you should include it in your weekly routine:
1. Improve that Body Awareness
Yoga is all about technique. You practice postures each class and your goal is to improve your technique through regularly practice. This means you are constantly being told to “engage your core”, “lift your chest”, “engage your glutes”…which is very difficult at the time…but it teaches you to engage all those core muscles that surround the big muscles giving you the ability to use those muscles when you bring it back to the gym setting in exercises such as the Back Squat or Deadlift.
Learning how to switch on those glutes will vastly improve the amount of weight you can pull in a your Deadlift bro.
2. Ego Perspective
Wanna get that ego in check? Try standing in a room full of 30 women who move as graciously as gazelles as they fold, flex and bend into some amazing shapes in yoga as you flop, frollock and collapse your stiff body into something that resembles a drunken statue of liberty for a 60-90min class.
It does seem like women have an easier time with flexibility work, such as yoga, than men. However this is to our advantage, it gives us the ability to check our ego at the door and not be in an environment where we are trying to be the best in the room (trying to survive the class is more a realistic goal). Plus, with consistent practice, men can develop the required flexibility into their body’s and can then start using more strength in each posture allowing us to do more during class.
After your ego has taken a massive hit during your initial experiences in yoga. You can pick it back up by taking your new found flexibility back to your squad in the gym and show them how you can now touch your toes while they are all struggling to even bend over.
3. Freezes and Hand Balancing
Once you have practiced yoga for a while you will have unlocked some of the flexibility required to start doing some hand balancing work. This means suspending your entire bodyweight on your hands! Does this sound impressive? Well it is! As a male who trains, you probably already have the prerequisite strength to be able to perform these manoeuvres which means that it won’t be long in your yoga journey before you will be hand-balancing all over the joint.
Put all the work you have put into your ‘Deltoid Gainz’ to good use by performing the crow pose or free-standing hand stand variations.
4. 60-90 mins of Length
I can hear it now, some of you are saying: “but I already do my mobility and flexibility work at the start/end of my workout, why do I need to do all this yoga jazz?”
Yoga classes are generally between 60-90mins in duration, that means you are spending up to 1 hour and a half working on your dynamic & static mobility/flexibility. If you were to do 3 classes a week then that means you will have done up to 4.5 hours worth of flexibility/mobility work in your training.
That kind of volume just doesn’t happen in your own training.
For all you ‘Bros’ out there: A typical yoga class is still a 80-90% female to male ratio. You just can’t get those kinds of odds anywhere else.
Get that Yoga into your weekly schedule! Now I know its difficult to try something new that your maybe not used to, but its time to have a look at the benefits from other training discipline’s such as yoga and realise how they can complement what you are doing already. Strength is one thing but without the ability to move your muscles effectively it is quite ineffective.
So go on, head to that yoga class. Its time to flex, bend and move your body into shapes that will help restore the freedom of movement into your body – but remember to leave your inner masculine ego at the door, all you are trying to do is learn how to bend, so one day your body doesn’t break.
For all those wanting advice on a varied training program please get in touch: [email protected]
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