Yoga is fantastic for many reasons. But one critical aspect of fitness mainstream yoga tends to forget is STRENGTH in the end range of motion aka active range of motion. They include plenty of exercises to improve your balance like one-legged balances, but many of these poses don’t work on your active range of motion.
What is this referring to? By strength, I’m referring to the ability to control the muscle; to exert force. The end range of motion refers to the maximum depth of a posture, or the deepest we can go into a stretch. Putting these terms together, strength in end range of motion, means being able to exert force when we are at our most flexible.
Yet… most people who do yoga don’t do this. When we get into end range of motion, we’re usually focused on getting as deep of a stretch as we can, and aren’t really focused on being able to apply force when we’re there. Sound like something you’ve done before?
It’s true that passive flexibility is also a good thing. It precedes strength in end range of motion. If we are unable to reach a certain range of motion passively, there’s no way we can achieve the same range of motion actively. The problem arises when we stay complacent with training our passive range of motion, and don’t make the transition to building strength in end range of motion. And this is the big problem with mainstream yoga.
Yoga tends to focus on passive flexibility when we start getting to our end range of motion. Unfortunately, training passive range of motion (going as deep as you can into a posture using an external force, such as the ground or your bodyweight, to go deeper into the posture) doesn’t help as much. It’s great for improving muscle elasticity (flexibility), but it doesn’t apply to functional fitness in the sense that we are able to utilize and apply force in that end range of motion.
Here’s an Example
It’s the difference between using a wall to hold your leg up, versus using the strength of your hip flexors to hold your leg upright. One builds strength; the other builds passive flexibility. In order for us to make yoga more effective, building strength is end range of motion is something we need to be doing more often.
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Why am I so concerned with this?
Simple – I want to improve overall strength, muscular efficiency, and being able to get as effective of a workout possible in as little time as possible. This is much of what I’ll be covering next week in my common yoga error series, where I show you the most common errors – and the simple tricks to fix them. These will be shared on the Man Flow Yoga website, Facebook, and on YouTube – make sure you’re following me there to check them out!
This concept of strength in end range of motion is one way I try to make Man Flow Yoga different from other types of yoga, and it ties into my focus on muscle activation; noticing and being able to control specific muscles while you’re in the posture. In fact, with calls with Members, this is one thing that is totally different from what they’d experience in typical yoga class. If you’d like to see what I mean for yourself, sign up for a 7-Day Trial and check out the MFY Workout Library – it’s just $1 to get started.
Hope you found this useful! See you on the next video.
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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