Basic Beginner Lifting
If I were new to weight training and doing yoga (or almost anything) four times a week, I'd either:
- A) Reduce the yoga (or sport, or hiking, or whatever) to three times a week and weight train twice a week for a while, focusing on achieving a basic standard of strength (see footnote)
- B) Keep doing yoga four times a week and strength train once a week, allowing for slower but still productive progress
Either way, since I'd be a novice. Nearly all people new to lifting weights need the same thing: a basic program of squatting, picking things off the floor, pushing things, and pulling things. Barbells are the most efficient for this purpose, and I'll assume their use here. I'd so something vaguely similar to what was recommended to me as a beginner:
- Warm up for five minutes with biking, running, jumping rope--whatever
- Prepare my joints with arm circles and leg swings (three sets of ten in each direction), plus joint rotations (one set of ten each, which can also be done before the warm-up) for smaller joints
- Back squat, one set of 20 (with, as always, warm-up sets preceding), adding five pounds each workout until it's very hard, then switching to 3 sets of 5, and being very careful to hit full depth and avoid rounding of the back
- Alternate between dips and chin-ups or pull-ups, both for 3 sets of as many reps as possible with good form, eventually adding weight
- Deadlift, one set of 5, taking care to have a locked, neutral spine
If you're feeling your Wheaties, you can do a set of Hindu push-ups--kind of like up-dog then down-dog, scooping your chest down in the middle of the movement by bending the elbows, thirty times--at the end. The deadlift can come before the upper-body work if you prefer.
Get feedback on your squat and deadlift frequently, by asking someone competent at the gym to watch, and by posting a form check video here, at the Starting Strength forums, and on Olympic weightlifting forums. Getting it right is super-
important. If you find yourself lacking the mobility to do a particular movement, fix that before adding too much weight.
Or Buy Starting Strength
If parts of that are confusing, then pick up the book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore. (The second and third editions are both good; the first edition is insufficient for your purposes.) It doesn't match these recommendations exactly, but the general thrust is the same. More importantly, it includes extremely detailed instructions on how to do each lift correctly and safely, as well as the Why behind each lift. You can easily adapt the lift-three-times-a-week, gain-weight protocol recommended in the book to suit your purposes.
(Footnote: Just as an example, a basic set of standards for strength might be: squat my bodyweight for reps, 1.5x bodyweight deadlift, ten chin-ups, and fifteen dips. You could use substitutes or different numbers for all of these; the important part is to retain a standard for as many as possible of Squatting, Hinging (a.k.a. a deadlift kind of movement), Pressing, and Pulling. For instance, some people prefer the more strict "1.5xBW front squat, 2xBW deadlift, fifteen pull-ups, bench press 1.25xBW" standard; that's fine and fairly impressive.)