The American Council on Exercise classifies strength training as “exercising with progressively heavier resistance for the purpose of strengthening the muscular skeletal system.”
There is different equipment that can be used for strength training such as resistance bands, free weights and weight machines.
These all work in their own way to provide increasing resistance as the muscles develop.
Yoga will work our muscles and muscle groups, but unlike strength training, they will only increase to a certain size based on our bodyweight.
This is due to the lack of “progressively heavier resistance.”
So can yoga replace strength training? Perhaps we should ask ourselves if yoga should replace strength training.
Yoga is a great exercise as it focuses on toning the whole of our bodies and multiple muscles rather than just one specific muscle group like completing a bicep curl.
We need to ask ourselves how much muscle mass we actually need.
Strength training will give you the boost to be able to carry many bags of shopping on one arm, but yoga however, will allow you to carry many bags of shopping, walk easier with them, and rotate and bend effortlessly whilst you are packing them away.
In the end the decision is yours to make depending on what goals you have and what you would like to gain from strength training.
In general, if you want to get an all over toned body, define full body muscles and gain a small amount of mass then yoga is probably the best exercise for you.
Yoga will also teach you breathing control and stress reduction via meditation.
On the other hand, if you want to really bulk up and simply get big biceps then strength training is probably for you.
A lot of fitness experts will suggest taking a collective approach so that you can benefit from both types of exercises.
The reason for this is because the 2 disciples work in exact opposites as strength training shortens the muscles due to the movement (known as concentric contraction) and yoga elongates the muscles because of the poses you get into (known as eccentric contraction.)
If you take part in both, your muscles will be better defined and strengthened.