The Yin-Yang Workouts That Are Best Paired Together

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Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to find a routine that works and stick with it. That’s fine for your daily coffee order, but when it comes to exercise, doing just one type of workout is a surefire way to shortchange your fitness.

There’s no single discipline that can offer everything you need to be physically fit. One form of exercise that offers cardiorespiratory benefits may fall short in mobility, while another mobility-focused workout may never get your heart pumping. Plus, isn’t it a little boring to move your body the same exact way, day after day?

To help you round out your fitness routine (and keep your head in the game), we paired up popular workouts that complement each other and, when done in tandem, provide a holistic approach to exercise and cross-training.

Here are six “yin-yang” combos to try.

1. Yoga and Cycling

Jaclyn Alterwein, senior manager of music and content at BODi, combines indoor cycling with yoga in her personal workout routine. Yoga, she explains, helps strengthen many of the muscles used in cycling.

“It also helps open up the entire body and improve posture, which is advantageous to executing proper riding form,” she says. And yogis who have yet to try cycling may find that time in the saddle brings more ease to their practice.

“Because cycling improves both cardiovascular health and lower-body strength, it will help those yoga postures that require lower-body strength and cardio efforts,” Alterwein says.

Aside from the physical benefits of this pairing, the combination of yoga and cycling can offer a sense of energetic balance. “It’s great to balance the high energy required for cycling with the calm energy that practicing yoga provides,” Alterwein says.

BODi’s Yoga52 is a series of practices led by four world-class trainers that you can do right at home. With descriptive cues and precise instruction, you’ll never have to look up from the mat so you can stay focused on your breath and body.

2. Cycling and Running

Woman Uses MYX Bike While Man Prepares for Run | Yin Yang Workouts

This combo was made for cardio enthusiasts. Both cycling and running are excellent options for building endurance and maintaining heart health, but running is a high-impact exercise while cycling is a relatively low-impact activity.

Alternating between the two can help prevent injuries and minimize rest time, explains Brett Durney, a certified personal trainer and co-founder of Fitness Lab.

Pairing cycling and running “will provide you with the ability to train on consecutive days while allowing body parts such as ligaments and tendons to recover from the high-impact effect of running,” Durney says.

“As we age, impact becomes incredibly important for bone health, but it also becomes something that we need to watch and monitor closely. Managing the amount of impact you are placing on your body by utilizing a combination of cycling and running means that you can work out frequently and recover at the same time,” he adds.

3. Running and Strength Training

Collage of Running and Strength Training Screenshots | Yin Yang Workouts

If you want an example of a well-rounded athlete, find a runner who regularly strength trains. Or a lifter who also runs. This pairing delivers that sought-after “strength + cardio” combo that’s often considered the gold standard for a workout regimen.

“There are so many reasons for runners to strength train, particularly because strength training prevents injuries, improves muscular endurance, and promotes strong bone health, which are all excellent benefits for runners,” Alterwein says. Additionally, the stronger your glute, core, and leg muscles, the faster you’ll tick off those miles.

And if your happy place is the weight room, it makes sense to occasionally trade your lifting shoes for running sneakers, as pounding the pavement will boost your cardiovascular capacity in a way that strength training won’t, says Alterwein.

4. Strength Training and Cycling

Man Lifts Weights with MYX Bike | Yin Yang Workouts

Combining cycling and strength training is one way to keep your body (and brain) guessing, says Alterwein. “Mixing up your workouts is not only a great way to prevent boredom in your fitness routine, but the variety of the demands placed on your body forces it to constantly adapt, which leads to consistent changes and growth,” she says.

Pair strength training with cycling, and you’re also likely to see improvements in both disciplines. “The cardiovascular benefits of cycling can help in those moments when your breath is so important to lifting weights,” Alterwein says.

For cyclists, strength training can help improve posture and efficiency.

“An efficient ride improves your power,” she says. “Strength training also improves cadence, or how fast you can get that pedal around, both in and out of the saddle. I often advise those who are struggling to maintain a quicker pace out of the saddle to strengthen their legs and core.”

With the BODi Bike, you’ll get access to hundreds of heart-pumping rides, which also include Cycle & Strength classes that utilize the bike’s swivel screen monitor to incorporate strength training into your cycling workouts.

5. Cycling and Pilates

woman doing xb pilates workout on BODi bike

Like yoga, Pilates can help balance out a high-energy sweat session on the bike. While Pilates workouts are challenging, their focus on breath, form, and control can have a calming effect on the body. Conversely, cycling will ramp up your heart rate in a way that Pilates simply can’t.

Additionally, Pilates workouts can improve flexibility, posture, and core strength. “All of these improvements can be utilized to improve form on the bike, which provides a more efficient ride and prevents injury,” Alterwein says. “Pilates can ‘fine tune’ those muscles required for maximizing your bike performance.”

If you’re looking to get started with a Pilates practice, Beginner Pilates With Lisa Hubbard is a three-week program designed to teach you the basics of Pilates exercises and breathwork. Building on what you learn in previous classes, you’ll create a strong foundation of movement and stability that you can take into all other types of workouts.

6. Pilates and Running

Collage of Pilates and Running Screenshots | Yin Yang Workouts

For avid runners, Pilates can bring their form and technique to the next level, as it builds strength and stability throughout the entire body, especially in the core, back, and hips.

“If your sport or hobby is running, then being strong and stable will provide you with optimal performance, optimal enjoyment, and, most importantly, healthy joints, promoting health and longevity,” Durney says.

For Pilates devotees, time on the trail, tread, or sidewalk can help “fill the gaps” in their fitness routines. “People who predominantly use Pilates as a main form of exercise should look to running in order to build and optimize their aerobic and anaerobic levels of fitness,” Durney says.

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