“Strength training” in today’s reality has many meanings that involves research, body awareness and practice to determine the most beneficial results for each body type. Training with weights and plates increases the size of muscles if practiced continually with correct form. A mixture of functional fitness exercises to strengthen the core, arms, legs and overall body as it increases flexibility in bending, carrying packages, stooping with balance and other everyday activities.
Professional Master Body-Builder, Jeff Duffesay, fitness instructor at the YMCA (Sebring) teaches a class using weights and similar postures that assists in intensifying a yoga practice to build strength, tone, condition and lengthen muscles. This combination of strength training also intensifies the healthy function of internal organs and maximizes waste elimination through the breath and body. When muscles are active on a daily basis through repetition, everyday stress is released and the body functions more efficiently,” Jeff emphasizes.
In the final analysis, weight and strength training is similar to yoga in aligning and distributing body weight and building muscles to support flexible movement as Jeff demonstrates performing “Side Plank.” Notice the power in his form using muscle strength to hold the pose and repeat it several times. In Jeff’s body fitness class, he switches up different weights from plates on the bar, to holding various plates. Students graduate from light to heavier weight on the bar when doing different stances. Jeff challenges each individual to “stay with it” adding his wit and sense of humor as he measures the degree of difficulty for students, saying “Are we having fun yet?” By the time you finish his one-hour class, Monday through Thursday, your muscles will tell you how much fun you have had as they tell you of your overall progress.
As a yoga instructor, I have attended Jeff’s class many times over the years and know his muscle fitness program works to improve flexibility and strength to do yoga. “Plank and Side Plank” are two yoga postures that require that muscle strength and flexibility. A yoga practice is improved in coordination, bicep flexion and arm strength as well as balance and stability. Using weights and lifting weights burns fat in the core and works on those “love handles” that encircle the waist. Also, as the core becomes stronger, back pain is lessened and discomfort alleviated. In yoga, body twists, “Crocodile Pose,” and “Upward Facing Dog” benefit form greater spinal strength to lift up and hold poses. In wide legged postures that require arms reaching forward towards the toes while lifting the upper body is another core strength improved by weight training.
Combining strength training and yoga calms the mind and body and eases everyday functions. Throughout his challenging workout, Jeff often asks “Are we having fun yet?”