Replace Strength Training – 5 Yoga Poses for Strength Building

yoga and strength training

Strength training is usually referred to as weight lifting or heavy gym workout sessions. As a vital part of the workout, we like to hit the gym with full intensity and want quick results. These quick results mean, you have to work out effortlessly. However, you cannot work out effortlessly unless you have been training for strength. This is the reason most people feel tired after two to three sessions and give up exercise altogether. Apart from working tirelessly, strength training is also good for day-to-day life and overall body health. According to the doctors, strength training helps in reducing bone-related issues as well as helps with increasing bone density. People who lose bone density over time due to old age or hormonal issues must start with strength training.

Now that we have established this idea that strength training is important, we need to understand what exactly qualifies as strength training.  There is no doubt that weight lifting is a great way of strength training, however, there are other alternatives as well. You might have noticed that even after a yoga class, you feel your muscles are getting sore. This means that you have exerted enough energy in the process, your muscles have worked out, and overall, this has stimulated your muscles and bones enough to make them stronger.

Does Yoga Qualify As Strength Building Exercise?

With most strength training we see that lifting weight is very common. However, within yoga, you don’t see any visible weight that you are trying to lift. Yet you feel very tired and sore by the end of the yoga session. What can be the issue? To make it easier to understand, you need to know that visible weight might not be there but you are lifting the weight of your body. With the help of various postures and yoga poses you are trying to concentrate all the bodyweight at one point. This bodyweight will not only help you make your muscles stronger but it will help you regain flexibility. This is also the reason, most people love doing yoga. Every pose and posture has its significance and if you have already set your goal, you can choose yoga poses accordingly.

Yoga Helps With Muscle Building?

If you want to opt for yoga for muscle building, you will be surprised by how effective it is. However, if you are confusing muscle building with bodybuilding, you are wrong. With the help of yoga, your muscle definition will get better, your skin will get tighter and your overall body will tone up. You might not be able to look like a hulk but you can look like a Calvin Klein model. If you have ever seen a yogi, you might have noticed one thing in common, they are not bulky. However, they are not lean or thin either, they usually have very well-defined abs and muscles. Apart from that, their body never looks out of proportion. If you have ever noticed bodybuilders or weight lifters, their upper body strength is always better than their lower body strength. They have bulky and muscular arms but their legs are very weak and thin. On the contrary, yoga only defines and polishes the overall muscle definition, it never alters the body structure. This is one of the biggest reasons even doctors and health professionals recommend yoga.

5 Life-Changing Yoga Poses That Are Great For Strength Building

Now that we know yoga can indeed be used as a replacement for strength training, we can now see are few of the basic yoga poses that you can try. Although, you will find so many different yoga poses that are recommended for strength training, however, few are good for beginners. These yoga poses can be used for strength training and they can also be added as a basic warm-up session. The overall recommendation is to perform these poses on alternative days, however, you can also perform them daily depending on your personal choice. There is no specific time limit but it is better to hold the pose up to 2 minutes.

Tree Pose

Tree pose is one of my personal favorites. You don’t need so much space for this pose, just stand on your mat and try to stand on one foot. You need to shift your whole weight on one leg and then fold the other leg. Now you need to tuck your folded leg near the side of the straight leg. Most people topple at this stage but after one or two attempts you will be able to balance yourself. You can also start with a yoga partner or take support from a chair. One of the biggest mistakes that most people commit while shifting their weight is letting the body hang on one hip. You need to avoid this issue and keep your whole weight evenly distributed on both sides. Now place your hands in a prayer pose and keep them in front of you. When you want to exit this pose, you need to bring both hands above your head and open your hands, then shift your weight to the other leg.

Basic Plank

If there is one pose that almost everyone can perform even without proper guidelines that will be the plank pose. Within the plank pose, you have to just keep two things in mind. The first is to keep your spine straight while your bottom is tucked in and the second is to keep your abs or core tight. This way you will be able to focus exactly on the right muscles and the strength training will be better. For a beginner who is not familiar with the plank pose, you just have to lay straight on your tummy. Then, try to lift your weight on all four limbs. Most people like to use the palm of their hands but it is better to fold your elbows and use that for lifting your weight.

Low Cobra

The name of this pose looks pretty dangerous but it is a very interesting pose. This pose helps you to tap into the back muscles. In most cases, we only use limited back muscles but this pose will help you to use your underused rear back muscles as well. You can shift from the plank pose to the cobra pose as well. All you need to do is, let your weight stay at your core and lift your upper body weight by using your forelimbs. Now you need to look up and tilt your neck like you are looking upwards. You need to lift your chest as high as possible but try to channel your back muscles as compared to relying only on your arms, palms, and elbow. Relying on your upper limbs too much will limit the weight to the shoulders, elbow, palms and you will not use your back muscles.

Chair Pose

This is a tough one but once you get the hang of it, you will realize that this pose is effective. You need to stand on your mat and keep your feet apart. Now, keep your arms straight right in front of you parallel to each other. Now hope on to your toes and bend your knees a little bit. You will be mimicking the pose of a chair. However, don’t go too low, this will make it difficult, just bend your knees to a certain limit. Most people can hold this pose for 30 seconds, however, with practice, you will be able to hold it for one minute at least.

High Lunge

Number five on our list is a high lunge. Most people are familiar with a high lunge and they know how effective this is. The pose is just like basic lunges that we perform during cardio and workout sessions. The only difference is that you will be keeping your hands above your head the whole time. Another very important step is to hold the pose for at least one minute, after that minute you can switch your leg.

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About the Author: Kabbyik

Kabbyik Mitra, a voracious reader and health writer. He is a health & lifestyle journalist. Kabbyik is a yoga enthusiast practicing yoga for last 7-year. He is a certified yoga therapist, a science writer, communicator and journalist. He has been practicing yoga and training people to live a healthy and happy life. Get in touch with him via email: for any yoga related queries.

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