Yoga has a huge range of different benefits such as improved flexibility, better coordination, improved balance, improved athletic performance, and of course, improved mental health.
However, did you know that yoga is also linked to improved strength?
If you didn’t, you’re in the right place! Flexibility and strength go hand in hand. For example, more upper body strength and a stronger core make it easier to hold poses like a handstand or chaturanga.
Therefore, if your fitness goal is to increase muscle mass and strength, performing yoga poses is a great option. However, knowing which poses are best for strength can be tough if you’ve never thought about building strength through yoga before.
Today, we’re here to help! In this post, you’ll find a list of 9 incredible yoga for strength poses that will help improve your strength. We’ll tell you how to do each stretch and what makes it beneficial.
1. Plank Pose
We’ll start things off with one of the most popular yoga poses. The plank pose has become a go-to stretching exercise in most core training routines.
It is highly effective when it comes to increasing strength and promoting stability in the abdominal muscles, glutes, back muscles, chest, and shoulders.
It even activates the leg muscles, making it a great stretch for increasing your overall strength.
Another great thing about the plank pose is that it’s super easy to perform. Follow the steps below to perform the plank pose.
- To begin, sit in a kneeling position on a mat.
- Walk your hands out until the knees come off the floor and everything from the tip of your head to your heels is in a straight line.
- Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.
- You can make the pose easier by bending your elbow to a 90-degree angle.
2. Cobra Pose
The cobra pose is one of the best poses you can hold if you want to increase the strength of the underused muscles in your back.
This stretch is a little bit more difficult to get right than the plank pose but as long as you promise yourself not to cheat, you’ll get it right.
The fact this pose targets underused muscles makes it a valuable stretch to add to your yoga routine. Once you perform this pose, you’ll understand exactly why it has the name cobra pose.
- Lie on your stomach with your forehead on your mat, your hands under the shoulders, and your elbows hugging your sides.
- Keeping your pelvis on the mat, lift your upper chest and shoulders as you inhale. Do this without pushing your hands.
- Next, slide your shoulders away from your ears, while looking at the floor.
- When you exhale, lower your body back to the mat.
- Do this exercise 4 or 5 times.
3. Garland Pose
The garland pose is one of the best yoga poses you can perform if you want to increase the strength and flexibility of the muscles in your lower back and thighs.
To perform the pose, you’ll sit in a deep squat position that also activates the ankles and feet.
Once again, follow the steps below to perform this pose!
- To start the garland pose, get yourself in a mountain pose.
- Then, place your feet apart, just wider than hip distance, and rotate your legs out.
- Now, drop your back and hips down, while keeping your chest lifted. Continue to sink down into a deep squat position.
- Next, bring your arms together in between your legs and press your legs open by pushing the palms of your hands together.
- Hold the position for 4 or 5 long breaths.
4. Chair Pose
If you need to improve the strength and flexibility of your leg muscles, look no further than the chair pose. The chair pose is a popular yoga position that brilliantly targets all the muscles in your legs.
Depending on how long you are capable of holding this pose, it will also make your thighs burn, making it a solid workout stretch too.
This is another stretch that isn’t too difficult to perform.
- With your feet aside from each other, stand towards the top end of your mat.
- Fully extend your arms in the air with your palms facing each other.
- Then, start to bend your knees until you sit deeply as if you’re sitting in a chair.
- Sit as deep as you can to engage your muscles more.
- Hold the pose for at least 10 long breaths.
5. Crescent Moon
Next up, we have the crescent moon pose. Also known by the name Anjaneyasana, this is a backbend stretch that builds strength in the abdominal muscles and the front of the thighs.
This is a fantastic yoga pose to include in your daily strength training regime. Because this pose is a backbend exercise, you should wait until you’ve done some warm-ups before performing it.
It’s also worth noting that this yoga pose is good for balance, flexibility, and coordination too.
- Start in a kneeling position and bring your right leg forward, while extending your left leg all the way back.
- Now, keep your hips square and put an emphasis on your stretch in front of your left thigh.
- Lift both arms above your head and slowly draw your shoulders back.
- Next, bring your gaze towards your hands and allow the shoulder to bend backward.
- Don’t rush the movement and let your abdominal muscles keep the pose tight.
- You can now roll the stretch back as much as you can and hold the pose for 10 breaths.
- Swap legs and repeat the pose.
6. Side Plank
The side plank might look like an easy stretch to hold but it is actually quite complex. Therefore, it’s probably a better pose to hold if you already have some yoga experience.
The side plank is a valuable yoga pose to add to your daily routine as it targets almost every muscle in your body. This includes the legs, abdominals, arms, and shoulders.
As you can probably tell from the image below, this pose also helps improve flexibility and balance across your body.
- To start the side plank, put yourself in the down dog position before tilting your feet so your left foot is stacked above your right foot.
- Then, move your body weight onto your right hand and lift your left hand off the ground. As you do this, tilt your body until you face toward the right.
- To strengthen the pose, use your right hand for support.
- If you have the balance, place your left hand in the air. If not, place it on your waist.
- Hold the stretch for 10 deep breaths.
7. Dolphin Pose
The dolphin pose is another complex pose that will take practice to get right. However, once you know how to do it, your back, shoulders, core, arms, and legs will love you for it.
This pose leaves you in a challenging upside-down V position that activates the legs and feet and stretches the arms, core, back, and shoulder muscles. The beauty of this pose is that your whole body will feel like it’s working out.
- This is another pose you can start from a downward dog position. Start with your hands and knees on your mat, while keeping your hands under your shoulders.
- Then, drop your elbows to the ground while keeping your upper arms near your ears. Meanwhile, push your hips toward the sky.
- Make sure your heels stay on the ground.
- Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths.
8. Tree Pose
Any standing yoga pose that gets you to balance works the legs, core, and back. The tree pose is no different. This is one of the best yoga poses beginners can try if they want to build strength in their legs, core, and back.
The challenge here is to balance your body perfectly while putting all your weight on one leg. Luckily, this pose is very easy to perform.
- Bend your right knee and stand up without letting your left leg touch the ground.
- When upright, bring the sole of your left leg to the inside of your right thigh.
- Then, bring your hands together at your chest to help maintain balance.
- Hold the position for 10 breaths before swapping legs.
9. Bridge Pose
The final pose on our list is the bridge pose. This is one of the best yoga poses you can hold if you want to build more strength in your chest. Often performed as a restorative pose, this stretch will also help strengthen your hamstrings and glutes.
It will also improve the flexibility of your hips, so give it a try.
- To begin, lie on your back with your feet flat and knees bent.
- Relax your arms and keep your focus on the ceiling.
- Press your heels into the mat and curl your spine away from the mat.
- Lift the tailbone first, then the lower spine, and finally the upper spine.
- Bring the shoulders together underneath and clasp the hands together.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
There you have it, 9 incredible yoga-for-strength poses that will increase the strength across your body. It doesn’t matter what part of the body you’re hoping to improve, we’ve listed a yoga pose that will help.
All you have to do now you have our list is give each pose and try and see what you think. You’ll probably find that you want to add most of these poses to your daily stretching routine.