When you think of yoga benefits, what are the first words that come to mind? Flexibility? Stress relief? Well, what if we said strength? That’s right — there’s much more to this practice than meets the eye (or should we say the mat).
Have you ever considered yoga for strength training?
The weight room isn’t the only place for building muscle — your yoga practice may prove beneficial for improving both strength workouts and overall body strength! While certain yoga poses may help you achieve a long, limber body, other yoga poses may help build muscle mass and increase strength!
So, which yoga poses should you incorporate into your practice if you want to get stronger? We’re breaking down the five best yoga poses for building muscle, and sharing the top benefits of using yoga for strength. With plenty of free yoga videos to choose from on the FitOn App, you’ll be the strongest yogi on and off your mat.
PS: Are you up for a yoga challenge? Keep reading to find out how to enter.
The Benefits of Yoga For Strength
Build Full-Body Muscle Strength
Let’s start with the obvious. A major benefit of yoga for strength? Well, it builds muscle! Full body muscle, at that. Yoga is inherently a full body flow — a typical yoga sequence activates and engages the majority of the muscles in the body. Think about handstands, for example. While inverted yoga poses engage the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and upper back, these postures require some serious stability, too! This means activating your core and glutes.
By activating these stabilizers as well, you’re essentially calling on all of the major muscle groups in the body — and, this is just one yoga posture! Imagine how many muscles you’ll engage in a whole sequence.
So, when you want to make the most of your time in the gym, finish your workout with a few yoga poses! Unless you’re doing a full-body workout, strength training generally isolates specific muscle groups (think: chest or booty day). Yoga, on the other hand, is essentially always a full body day! Yoga for strength training may be the secret to total body gains.
Stabilize Your Movements
Strength and stability go hand in hand. If you want to improve your strength, start by improving your stability! There are two important muscle groups in the body: the movers and the stabilizers. Yoga poses often require engagement of our deep stabilizer muscles, while strength training typically focuses on engaging muscles that move the body (think: the biceps and glutes).
While stabilizer muscles are often overlooked, they are key to maintaining a strong, healthy body. These muscles may be small, but their role in the body is big. Stabilizer muscles support the body, prevent injury, and ensure the mover muscles are performing optimally. The takeaway? Yoga for strength training is important to prevent weak stabilizer muscles and improve your performance in the gym!
Protect Your Joints and Reduce Injury
One of the benefits of yoga for strength training is to reduce the risk of injury by protecting your joints. Weight-bearing exercises can stress muscles and joints. Excessive weight and tight muscles can lead to inflammation, pain, and injury. The more weight you lift, the more stressed your joints will be. Yoga may help prevent joint injury by increasing synovial fluid, a fluid that lubricates the joints and increases range of motion!
Want to build stronger muscles? Recovery is key. Don’t let your hard work in the gym go to waste by failing to properly recover! Restorative yoga poses can help increase range of motion, prevent muscle stiffness, and bring blood flow to muscles, delivering the necessary nutrients needed to stimulate and speed muscle growth.
The Best 4 Yoga Poses For Building Strength
#1 Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
We never said building muscle was easy! If you’re looking for a real burner — add chair pose to your yoga for strength sequence. As the name implies, this posture replicates sitting into a chair — but, there’s no chair to support you! Instead, you’ll need to rely on your muscle strength — particularly the muscles of your lower body and core (although you’ll activate your arms and shoulders, too). This posture is a great way to build some major leg strength without stressing the knees and joints.
#2 Low Plank (Chaturanga)
How could we give you the best yoga poses for building muscle without including chaturanga? This low plank posture will strengthen the abdominal muscles while building strength in your arms and erector spinae. If you really want to burn out the abs, try a FitOn yoga core workout or choose from our other free yoga videos! Add a few chaturangas to the end of any workout to challenge your yoga for strength series.
#3 Boat Pose (Navasana)
Forget the crunches. If you want to build core strength, try boat pose! Start in a seated position, with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Remember: this is a core posture! Engage your uddiyana bandha (your abdominal lock) throughout the entirety of this asana. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the mat, keeping your spine straight. Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle, bringing your shins parallel to the floor. Lengthen the front of your torso as you extend your arms long, with your palms facing one another. Do you feel your abdominal muscles firing up? Good — now hold this pose for 30 seconds, maintaining a steady breath.
For an added yoga challenge, try a series of ab-focused yoga poses 3 times a week!
#4 Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)
Are you ready to incorporate yoga inversions into your practice? Headstands and handstands may seem intimidating, but they are a great way to incorporate yoga for strength.
Start with dolphin pose if inversions are your goal. Yoga poses like dolphin pose engage the arms, shoulders, and upper back, building strength in the same muscles that are necessary for inversions. This posture will not only help your muscles get stronger, but it will also help your body (and mind!) get comfortable with the idea of standing upside down.
Make this year’s yoga challenge a reality — practice makes perfect!
Create Your Own Yoga For Strength Sequence
Now that you know the best yoga poses, build your own yoga for strength sequence! Try adding these postures into your practice a few times a week. Build total-body strength and maximize your gains in the gym! If you need some help getting started, browse the FitOn app for free yoga videos and workouts from top trainers.
Join the FitOn Yoga Strong Challenge to Get Started
So, are you up for a yoga challenge? Join the FitOn Yoga Strong Challenge and bring everything you’ve got to the mat. Commit to eight workouts, fourteen days, and no more than 30 minutes per session. You’ll benefit everything from your mind to your body, and leave feeling like your strongest, most confident self. With free yoga videos and the full support of the FitOn community, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain (including… gains in the gym!)