Believe it or not, yoga isn’t just about flexibility and deep breathing. Some poses, flows, and entire classes can be a great addition to your strength training routine! If you’re tired of lifting weights, doing resistance exercises, and going to the same fitness classes, look for a brand-new addition to your training plan by considering some of these yoga poses next time you hit the gym.
While you wouldn’t usually think of planking as part of yoga, yogis often use a plank as part of a short transition between poses. Planking strengthens your abs, shoulders, and lower back in a unique way. However, if you plank using poor form, you are putting yourself at risk for a whole host of injuries. If you’re a plank beginner, be sure to have a friend check your form or use a mirror to determine if you’ve got your positioning just right. In yoga, planks usually are held for a few seconds. If you want to push yourself, though, try keeping your plank for up to a minute or two at a time!
Like the last pose, but harder: Chaturanga is a pose that resembles the plank pose but makes a great addition to your strength training repertoire. From plank pose, place your hands directly underneath your armpits and bend your elbows until they point your toes. This exercise is incredible for your abs, your lower back, and your upper arms. If you’re looking for a challenge, pair them with plank pose for a pushup challenge. If this is too hard to pull off at first, you can put your knees down on the mat instead of putting your feet straight back for a starting pose that might make it a little easier to get started with this pose.
This pose is more than a stretch: Low Cobra helps you to strengthen some of the muscles in your back. Unlike many other poses that you might see in this position, the Low Cobra requires you to keep your elbows bent. This elbow bending allows you to use your back muscles and not cheat by stretching your back. Keeping your elbows bent at an almost 90-degree angle, body parallel to the floor, with no pressure on your hands, is the best way to get started with this pose. This is an excellent addition as part of a “cooldown” after a long weight training session.
If you’ve got poor balance, you might struggle with this pose. Half Moon requires that you balance on one leg, kick the other leg out, and leave your arms parallel to the leg you’re standing on. Half Moon promotes balance, quad strength, and works your core. If you’re struggling at first, you can rest your hand on an upright yoga block for a little bit of help with stability. It’s important to note that flexing the foot on your kicked-out leg helps engage all of your leg muscles and might make the pose that much easier to pull off.
One of the quintessential poses associated with yoga, Tree Pose can prove to be a challenge for beginners and experts. To come into Tree Pose, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, rest all your weight on one of your feet, lift your other leg and place your foot approximately on your balancing leg’s knee. With your arms either parallel to the floor or folded in front of your chest, you’ve made it into Tree Pose! You might have to wiggle around a little bit to find the balance you need, but don’t let that discourage you.
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