By Jennifer Cohen Men’s Fitness
Besides being a place to meet flexible women, yoga class can build a base for weight lifting, cut belly fat and reduce stress. Wondering how?
(1) “Yoga widens range of motion and increases access to more muscle fibers, allowing for more substantial hypertrophy in any given muscle group,” says Kate Abate, a certified trainer and yoga teacher. Hypertrophy is when a muscle is enlarged because its cells are enlarged (it’s basically muscle growth on a cellular level).
If you supplement your regular lifting routine with yoga classes, you’ll be able to activate ignored sections of muscle. For example, take the serratus anterior or “boxer’s muscle,” which is located under your armpit and over the side of your ribs. This muscle provides stability for your shoulders and is a base for developing deltoids and pectorals. Making your serratus anterior pop will help your abs look ripped, and you can get at it with yoga.
(2) Deep abdominal breathing is a huge part of yoga, and it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This lowers levels of cortisol, a hormone that forces your body to hold on to belly fat. Training yourself to breathe deeply through yoga can reduce stress and cortisol levels in your daily life.
(3) Another giant benefit of yoga is lowering your heart rate. More intense yoga routines will challenge your heart and breathing rates, which strengthen your cardiovascular system and can lead to a reduction in overall heart rate. Your breathing volume can also improve, providing more oxygen for your body to work as efficiently as possible.
With all these benefits it really isn’t surprising that athletes like LeBron James, the entire Philadelphia Eagles football team and even Shaq are putting on yoga pants!
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