Videos: Five Yoga Poses For Strength Training
Greetings, sweater season. Cooler temperatures are rolling in, and it’s beginning to seem like tank tops and shorts might not see the light of day again until June.
But even if you’re covered up from head to toe 24/7, it’s still important to work your muscles all fall and winter long. Add these five simple exercises to your regular yoga and stretching routine to strengthen major muscle groups.
Note: You can perform each movement with or without a weight. If you’re a beginner, start by using your body weight. When you’re ready for more, upgrade to a light weight or choose a festive prop like a pumpkin—or two.
Goddess Squat with Press
Start in a wide stance with toes angled outward. Hold your weight, kettlebell, or pumpkin with both hands at the center of your chest, elbows bent and tucked into your ribs. Inhale and bend your knees so that your thighs come parallel with the earth. Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
On your exhale, simultaneously straighten your legs and extend your arms overhead. Inhale, bend your knees to a squat, and draw your hands down with elbows into your ribs. Complete 10 to 20 reps.
Tip: If your knees extend over your toes when you squat, widen your stance.
Warrior Two with Weights
Come into warrior two pose with a weight in each hand, palms facing up. Sink into your front knee so that the knee comes over the ankle, with toes pointing to the front of your mat. Press strongly through the outside of your back foot, the outside edge of which should be parallel with the back of the mat, to engage muscles in the leg. Raise your arms to shoulder height and soften the elbows.
As you inhale, straighten your front knee and bring your arms together in front of your chest at shoulder height. Exhale and return to starting position. Complete 10 to 20 reps.
Boat, Rainbow, and Twist
Come into boat position by bending the knees so your shins are parallel with the floor. Hold your weight (or pumpkin) in both hands. Lean back slightly to sit back and engage your core.
Twist to the right and bring your weight to hover over the earth next to your hip. Move back to center and extend arms overhead on an inhale, then twist to the left and bring the weight down by your hip on an exhale. Complete 10 to 20 reps.
Modification: Do the rainbow motion without the weight or with feet planted. You can also take the rainbow motion out and twist side to side.
Chair Pose with Tricep Dip
Bring yourself into chair pose, with feet hips-width distance apart. Hold one weight close to your chest, with elbows at your sides. In chair pose, tuck your tailbone down slightly to allow your pelvic bone to tilt up. This will keep your spine long and straight. Take a breath in, then exhale.
On an inhale, stand up, come on to your toes, and press your weight overhead. On an exhale, bend your elbows and lower your hands behind your head to work your tricep muscles. Inhale, and extend your arms straight overhead. Exhale, and return to chair pose with hands into your chest. Do 10 to 15 reps.
Upright Crescent Twist
Come into a crescent lunge with the right foot at the front of your mat and the left foot at the back of your mat. The left heel is lifted to the sky as you balance on the ball of your foot. Square your hips toward the front of the mat. Hold a weight in each hand and extend arms overhead.
Inhale, then exhale and twist to the right. As you twist, bring your left arm forward and right arm back, palms facing up. Inhale the arms overhead, exhale, and twist. Do 10 reps, then repeat with left foot forward.
Modification: This move can also be done with the back knee down on the mat.