Why You Should Combine High Intensity Workouts With Yoga

Yoga On Beach

It may seem counter intuitive, HIIT is based on high intensity workouts that are done fast and to some extent very extreme; on the other end is Yoga which is based on exercising that is slower paced but utilizes many muscle groups based on the functional exercises that you complete. Although they may seem very different from each other, they can actually compliment each other and benefit you and your health.

Yoga Strengthens Muscles

Yoga Improving MusclesThat does not go to say that you don’t use your muscles when you do High Intensity Training. Indeed, you do use them but you utilize them differently. What this means is that a high intensity routine will make your muscles tired and tired fast. Does this sound familiar? – you’re doing a HIIT workout and after the second or third interval you’re tired and you find that you’re starting to do workouts improperly? That probably happens a lot especially to those that are just starting out (also with experienced individuals). Yes, you may say that it’s because fatigue builds up, and this is true, but this is only part of the reason. Most times 50% of the reason why is because your muscles are not as strong as you may think they are. In fact, if you feel that your back starts to hurt, or maybe your legs are hurting it could mean that you need to build up the strength in your body. This is where yoga comes in. Yoga is a great way to maintain and even strengthen muscles. It really is the perfect compliment to a nice high intensity workout. Think about it for a second, if you did a high intensity workout for 2 times a week and combine that with yoga for another 2-3 times a week, you can essentially strengthen your muscles and build up strength. You could do this for a bit and then later decide on combining hiit with muscle building.

So Where To Begin

1. Set Out A Schedule

scheduleDecide on when you’re going to do a high intensity workout, what the workout will entail (what muscle groups will you target). A good recommendation would be to do your high intensity workout 2 times per week, so on a Tuesday and Friday for example may work. Afterwards decide on when you’ll schedule yoga into your week. Start off with 2 times a week, Monday and Thursday. This schedule will help you as you’ll do your yoga the day before your high intensity workout – this gives your body the chance to strengthen up before you begin to break it down.

2. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep cannot be stressed enough; no matter what, in any form of exercise, sleep is important! This huffington post article highlights how dependent they are of each other (exercise and sleep). Exercise helps you sleep, and sleep helps you exercise! So don’t take sleep out of that essential equation.

Exercise + Sleep = Sleep + Exercise = Road To Fitness

3. Plan A Yoga Routine

Plan a yoga routine that will:

(A) Workout the muscles that you’ll plan on engaging with your high intensity workout.


(B) Be at your level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

Although it may go without saying, practicing yoga at your level is essential regardless if you incorporate a high intensity workout into it or not.

4. Adjust When Needed

If your body is not feeling the intensity of the workouts or the yoga moves then change it. Either decide to decrease the intensity of the hiit workout, or choose easier moves that are easier to do when you do yoga. On the flip side if you find that the moves are way to easy or the high intensity workout is just not intense enough then make it harder. Mix and match exercises you do and what intensity your body can handle. Remember that you’re doing yoga to help you prevent injuries but if you’re not doing it right then you’ll just be wasting your time since your not doing what will help you properly.

5. Listen To Your Body

Last thing that you really need to do is very important. Listen to your body at all times. Sometimes your body can’t handle this much exercising. If it can’t then don’t worry that’s ok. Cut it down even more, possibly doing both yoga and a high intensity workout to only one time each for the week. If that doesn’t work then maybe cut out one fully. In any attempt do not give up easily and forget either unless of course you can’t physically do it for medical reasons.

What You’ll Begin To See

So after you’ve started, worked out the kinks and all seems to be going well, you’ll start to notice a few changes.

1. Boost in Muscle Strength

plank strongThe first thing that you’ll notice is the amount of strength that you’ll gain after a few weeks. This is strictly because of the yoga training that you get. The high intensity training won’t feel so bad post workout. In fect, you’ll probably feel like you can conquer any workout thrown infront of you. Which brings us to the next point.

2. You’ll Want To Do HIIT More Often

Now this may seem great at first, but you have to remember that even though your body may not feel so tense after a high intensity workout, doesn’t mean that you don’t need the rest. So yes, if you do feel like you can do it more often, do it, but only up to 3 times a week max so that you don’t end up doing more harm then good. Remember: more is less.

3. Less Intense Breathing

What you’ll notice very subtly is that your breathing will be more controlled when you do you high intensity routine. This is in part because yoga helps you with controlled breathing and increasing blood oxygen levels. You send more oxygen to your body and that is important for any high intensity routine as the amount of oxygen and energy used is a large amount.

Once you start to notice these three different changes then you know that you’re on the right track.

Track Your Progress

Aside from tracking your progress when it comes to reaching the ‘desired body’. Track down how well you’re doing and what changes you have to make. This is an important way to determine if applying yoga to your high intensity workout works for you.

Yoga Will Help You Focus

In a high intensity workout you move so fast that it’s hard to concentrate on anything but the exercise at hand and sometimes even then it’s hard to find focus. With yoga you have to use meditation as a means to reach your full potential within the yoga moves. It’s this determination and focus that could prove to be useful for your high intensity routine. Concentration is key and when you do your hiit workout you would have gained a sense of control and determination from yoga. Applying this to your workouts you tend to focus more on how well the technique is and therefore how beneficial it can be to how your body reacts to the workouts.


The best thing to take away from all this is that you can actually combine different ways of training with other forms of training. Doing yoga or HIIT doesn’t mean you have to stick with them only. You can combine this form of training with other forms of training. For example you can also combine HIIT with strength training. There are so many different combinations of exercises and routines that you can function and make work together. The real work is finding that equilibrium. That balance that allows you to work one off the other. Remember that the goal is to provide you the best optimal health. Don’t limit yourself to just one thing, try others as well. Most of all, enjoy the exercise that you do, make sure that you feel that euphoric feeling afterwards, only then will you continue and progress.

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