Better To Do Yoga Before Or After Workout?

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Woman in black yoga pants doing yoga - Better To Do Yoga Before Or After Workout?

Yoga is an excellent addition to any fitness regime as long as you are scheduling it at the proper times and have good form. Some people think that yoga can be their entire workout, but you should try to do some other exercise in addition to yoga if possible.

In general, it is better to do yoga after most workouts. This is because it is a natural way to cool down and reduce your heart rate while providing many benefits.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of yoga, when to do yoga, and how best to perform yoga.


Does Yoga Help Your Muscles to Recover?

Evidence suggests that yoga can help your muscles recover after an intense workout, helping you feel less sore and tired. This is because the stretching and deep breathing that are common throughout most, if not all, yoga forms increase blood circulation.

By pumping more blood to the muscles that were actively working during your workout, they get a greater amount of nutrients and oxygen necessary for repair and recovery.

It also helps to remove lactic acid that naturally builds up as part of anaerobic respiration during hard exercise. Lactic acid causes muscle fatigue, so removing it helps you to feel less tired and recover quicker.


Does Yoga Before a Working Out Help You Perform Better?

Some people like to stretch or do yoga before a run or weightlifting as part of their warm-up routine, but the data is unclear as to whether it helps you perform better or not. Arguments for stretching before a workout include:


  • Reducing muscle tiredness or soreness after a workout
  • Reducing or preventing injuries
  • Better performance during a workout


Unfortunately, pre-workout stretching, at best, achieves one of these claims and, at worst, can reduce your performance during exercise.

Some speculate that this is because your body cannot take advantage of the yoga benefits before a workout but will make the most of them after a workout.


How Long After a Workout Do You Need to Do Yoga?

When you are at the gym or in the mindset of getting your workout routine on, it can be easy to rush between different types of exercise so that you can move on with the rest of your day. However, this is not necessarily ideal for your body.

While you can work out and do yoga on the same day, many people recommend spacing the two out, especially if you do yoga first. If you were to do yoga first, the recommended wait time is 6-8 hours, but you can do it much closer if you do it after a workout.

You should still wait for a little while to allow your body to recognize the transition between the workout and yoga, but yoga can be used as part of the cooldown from a workout.


What Exercise Compliments Yoga?

If you’re looking to have a fully toned body, you will need to use all of your muscle groups, including the ones that most yoga positions and stretches don’t target. This typically means you should be doing pull exercises with resistance, like deadlifts.

Below is a list of more exercises that complement the muscles used in yoga:


  • Squats
  • Pull-ups
  • Hip thrusts
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Barbell rows


This list isn’t exhaustive but will get you started on making sure you get a full-body workout. If you do decide that you want to do pre-workout yoga and are looking for exercises where you won’t lose performance, consider one of the following:


  • Ballet
  • Figure skating
  • Gymnastics


Basically, any exercise that requires a wide range of movement can benefit from some dynamic yoga stretching.


Common Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Many people make mistakes in their everyday workout regime that can lead to injuries or unsatisfactory results from their training. Adding yoga to a workout regime has plenty of benefits but also introduces more mistakes.

Things you should avoid doing when working out and performing yoga include:


  • Doing static yoga poses where you hold a position for a long time – can reduce your performance if done before a workout
  • Holding a pose for more than 45 seconds – can reduce muscle strength as part of static stretching
  • Not spacing out workouts and yoga sessions properly – can increase the time for recovery instead of decreasing it


Final Thoughts on Doing Yoga Before or After Workout

While some people look down on yoga enthusiasts, claiming it isn’t a real exercise, yoga is an excellent way to do some exercise and find happiness as you center your mind and body.

There are many other health benefits aside from mental wellness as well, and when combined with other forms of exercise can help you achieve many of your goals concerning weight loss or overall health.

Proper care must be taken when adding yoga to your routine, however. If you learn anything from this article, let it be the fact that you should primarily perform yoga after a workout as part of the cooldown process.