When you think strength training you don’t usually think yoga poses, but you’ll be surprised at just how strong having a regular yoga practice can make you. If you’re looking to build strength, flexibility and balance then cultivate a regular Ashtanga, Power or Rocket yoga practice. I’ve seen men who come to Power Vinyasa classes who can’t keep up with some of the women in the class, not in terms of flexibility but in terms of strength. Yoga works out muscles that you don’t usually work out in regular strength training and helps keep you limber – something that is very important for your joints. You don’t want to be a buff man who can’t lift his arms above his head, or squat down do you? Anyway, here are some poses that you can incorporate into your strength training. Some of these can look deceptively easy so take it easy when you’re striking a pose. When you start building strength and can do the asana easily, then take it up a notch with advanced variations and by holding the pose for a minute or more.
We start with the deceptively simple Chaturanga Dandasana or a yoga push up. This is a great way to build strength in your arms. If you can’t do this, then you will find it hard to move on to more difficult postures that require strength. In fact, if you’ve mastered the Chaturanga, you can always kick it up a notch by doing as other yoga instructors have done:
That variation you see in the video above is coupled with this arm balance pose, Bakasana. In order to get to more advanced arm balanced, you need to start with this simple arm balance. Once you get to balance, try jumping into the posture.
This is a simple side plank vamped up. Again this might look easy but getting to this pose with grace might be a different story. Not only does it require a delicious combo of strength, flexibility AND balance, it also require a whole lot of humour to do because trust me, you will fall a few times! You might as well laugh about it!
Things are heating up now. Once you’ve got Bakasana down, then you can move on to a more advanced arm balance. Do both sides to balance things out in your shoulder.
Definitely an advanced pose. If you can’t get into handstand yet, practice kicking up against a wall, or better yet practice in the middle of the room! This is a press up handstand, which is the goal you’re working towards. You will be surprised at just how much core and arm strength you need to get here.
Let us know how it goes with your training! Have fun and good luck!