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Incorporating Lifting, Cardio, and yoga

Hi all, I lift three times a week and do yoga 2-4 times a week. It’s not heavy on my body aside from the squatting which tends to strain my middle back a bit (lower back is never in pain).

Would you guys suggest swapping the squat for a leg press? I go to below parallel on the squat because it feels better on my knees, hips, and groin area, but at the same time it seems the day after my middle back in little bit of pain.

I do compound exercises that consist of deadlifts, barbell rows, military press, bench press, etc.
Would be not doing squats really affect glute/overall body development? I plan to continue doing yoga 2-4 times.

i would like to add that my goal is to be in general good shape. I am not looking for anything outside of being fit and strong.

where would you sneak cardio in? I wanted to do cardio once-twice a week interval.

I assume that yoga you do is not very taxing/hardcore. Or at least not something which would prevent you to train in the next day. This would make things easy:

D1 Lifting
D2 conditioning
D3 yoga

This would actually give you pretty balanced program.

I would also suggest having a conditioning goal and clear strength program to follow. My biased hint would be the some of the 2 day/week programs in 5/3/1. Be vary of the high volume variations, theyre not for you.

Well to answer your question about body development, there is no single exercise that is a prerequisite for excellent strength and aesthetics. As great as squats are, certainly you can reach your goals without them. Leg presses could help supplement. Also look into doing hip thrusts, lunges, etc. Most importantly, using such exercise may help you to overcome imbalances/weaknesses that may be the culprit of your mid back pain. Ideally, I think if you use a well-rounded program (that doesn’t include squats) and stick to it for 6-12 months, you may find that you are more structurally sound and able to squat pain free.

yes! I love squats. The way the feel after I do a heavy set of squats is amazing. I just dont want the possible risk of hurting my back. I do not get the same back pain from deadlifts.

Maybe I have to work on my core more so when I ascend, my back is more protective.

Im gonna try to do cardio the same days as yoga, because I still want to hit yoga 2-4 times a week. It’s not the most intense, and mentally I feel so much better. I am a special ed teacher in the bronx so I like having any option to calm my mind lol.

i may try for 3 times a week lift. 3 times a yoga, with two times cardio thrown when i do yoga.

I will do leg press and include some hip thrusts.

There are a lot of kinds of yoga. If your yoga is focused on breathing, meditation, and light stretching, you could do that every morning before breakfast. If your yoga discipline is based more around body weight exercises like downward dog, then I would agree that rotating days for weight lifting, cardio, and yoga is the way to go, especially if you use the yoga to focus on areas you feel need help.

I have a couple suggestions:

  1. For the squats, have you tried low bar squats? These may help the shear stress on your back compared to high bar squats. These have worked much better for me. If you go to youtube and watch Mark Rippetoe’s Art of Manliness squat video, that might help.

  2. I also do yoga regularly in addition to lifting and conditioning. As others have said, there are different types and you have to account for them differently in your training. If you’re taking an advanced Vinyasa class, this is taxing on your body. I have noticed back pain if I add this to my weekly heavy squats/DL if I don’t program it correctly. Then there is more gentle yoga and meditative yoga, that you can essentially do anytime and not worry about accounting for it in your lifting regimen.

  3. Conditioning can be done on its own day, or fit in where you can. If you do hard conditioning - like hill sprints, timed 400m’s, etc… - you need to consider how this affects your recovery and performance on your lifts. If you do easier conditioning - jogs, walks, weighted vest walks, airdyne, easier biking - you can put it in where it fits and not worry about how it affects recovery and lifting performance.

Here’s an idea. I don’t consider myself qualified to give advice, but I’ll have a shot anyway:
What about a low volume plan to allow you to work hard at the cardio too? Something like Pavel’s power to the people combined with HIIT one or two days a week plus yoga as and when?

Power to the people is shorter workouts correct?

Will I still get decent muscle development?

i am not particular looking for a huge or bodybuilder look. I want a decent lean look that shows I go to the gym. That’s it.

Yes! I tried lowering the bar because it does feel a little better but overall it still does not solve the problem. I am trying to prevent a long term problem.

I forgot to mention I was a bricklayer for six years. I am currently a teacher but I am sure bricklaying wore me out a little.

Well, it’s a strength program rather than a size program, but based on what you want I’d say give it a shot. IMHO. Also, I’d bear in mind that certain yoga postures (e.g.bakasana) do actually build strength in the same way that gymnastics movements do. I’m not sure what that implies for recovery, but it strikes me that an ‘easy strength’ style program would probably be a good choice in that regard too. Best of luck whatever you choose.

Im gonna research a workout program that is two days a week lifting intense. The little bit of research I did saw that there are benefits to this. Then Ill add in the cardio and yoga as I see fit.

I just have to pick the exercises that I want for two days.

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Something simple built around this would work.

Day One: Deadlift & Bench Press

Day Two: Back squat, Overhead Press

Tweaked from:

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