When it comes to building muscles, most people think about going to the gym to lift weights and machines.
Well, lifting weights does stimulate muscles to grow. But, it isn’t the only way, our body weight itself also can be the most effective tool to help in muscle building. And, this is where yoga comes in.
When you do yoga, you put your body in positions and orientations that require you to support yourself with your muscles. Thus, you are lifting your own bodyweight.
And, believe me, lifting your own body weight in different kinds of positions is way harder than lifting weights alone.
Some yoga poses create tension on your muscle fibers which makes your body build more muscles during recovery and increases your muscle mass.
By practicing these 7 yoga poses for muscle building, you can expect your muscles to grow in time.
7 Yoga Poses to Help You Build Muscles
1. Warrior 1 Pose (Virabhadrasana 1)
The Warrior 1 Pose is a yoga pose that commemorates a great warrior.
- stretches your chest, lungs, neck and belly
- strengthens your back muscles, shoulders and arms
- strengthens and stretches your thighs, calves and ankles
- improves focus and blood circulation.
- removes tightness from your hips and tones the quadricep.
- Begin by stepping your left foot back 3 to 4 feet apart, toes pointing slightly out. Align your hips with the front edge of the mat and keep your upper body facing the front edge of the mat.
- Slowly bend your right knee until the right thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your weight on the front foot and press the back foot down. Engage the back leg all the time because this is your anchor.
- Lengthen your spine white softening the base of your neck. Lift your arms over your head, towards the ceiling and parallel to each other. Firm your shoulder blades against your back.
- Gaze upwards slightly and stay in this pose for 1 minute.
- To come out of the pose, on inhale, press through your back heel to straighten the front leg. Then, exhale and lower your arms. Step your back foot forwards to come back to a standing position or Mountain pose.
- Repeat on the other side for 1 minute.
2. Boat Pose (Navasana)
Have you ever tried doing the Boat pose? If you do, you will definitely feel the burn!
- Tones and strengthens your abdominal muscles.
- Improves balance and digestion.
- Strengthens your spine and hip flexors.
- Begin with sitting on your butt. Bend your knees and have your feet flat on the floor.
- Lean back a little while keeping your spine straight. Lift your chest, and at the same time, lengthen the front of your torso.
- Extend your arms in front with your palms facing each other. Do not let your chest collapse. Keep the lower belly firm at all times.
- On exhale, straighten your legs from the ground, bringing your body into a “V” shape.
- Stay in the pose for 30 seconds, gradually working up to one minute.
- To come out of the pose, on exhale, lower your legs and hands to the floor.
3. Bridge Pose (Sethu Bandhasana)
The bridge pose helps you to build muscles for more advanced backbends.
- strengthens the glutes, abdominals and back muscles.
- stretches the chest and spine.
- calms your brain and reduces thyroid problems.
- Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms along the side, palms flat.
- On exhale, press your feet and arms firmly into the floor to lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor below your hips. Keep your arms straight as much as possible while pressing your forearms into the floor.
- Make sure your thighs and feet are parallel. Distribute your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Imagine lengthening your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
- Stay in this pose for 1 minute.
- To come out of the pose, place your hands alongside your body, palms flat. On exhale, gently roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra.
4. Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
Practicing any chaturangas will definitely tone up your upper body and give you sexy looking arms!
- Strengthens the arms and wrists.
- Tones the abdominal muscles.
- Begin from a plank position, firm your shoulder blades against your back and engage your back muscles. Keep the tailbone tucked under so the legs, hips and torso are one straight line.
- Rock slightly forward over the toes to move your body slightly forward.
- On exhale, lower the whole body until the upper arms stay parallel to the floor and your elbows form a 90° angle. Keep the elbows tucked into the ribs at all times.
- Gaze slightly ahead to keep your neck long. Make sure the chest and shoulders are not lower than the elbows.
- Hold this pose between 20 to 40 seconds.
5. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
It may look seemingly simple but it is actually a lot more challenging than you think when holding this pose.
- Strengthens lower back muscles.
- Tones abdominal muscles.
- Improves posture and helps relieve stress caused by slouching.
- Stretches the front upper torso.
- Start by lying on your stomach, arms at the side. Gently press your pubic bone into the floor and lengthen your lower back. Engage your leg muscles.
- On inhale, lift your chest, arms, legs and head off the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, opening up your chest.
- Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure to keep breathing.
- To come out of the pose, on exhale, lower down your head, chest, arms and legs.
6. Crow Pose (Bakasana)
One of the best yoga poses for muscle building is the crow pose. This may look intimidating but if you’re looking to gain strength and control throughout your body, the crow pose will help you tremendously.
- Strengthens your wrists, arms and abdominal muscles.
- Stretches your upper back.
- Improves balance and coordination.
- Start in a squat position with your feet together and knees wide apart.
- Lean the torso slightly forward so that your shoulders are able to fit between the knees. Bring your palms flat on the floor about one foot in front of your feet and shoulder-width distance apart. Spread your fingers wide and focus on pressing into the top joint of your fingers.
- Bend your elbows. Don’t bend them into a full 90 degree, but towards that direction.
- Line your knees with your upper arms and place your knees on the backs of your upper arms. Slowly bring your weight forward and into your hands, keeping your arms engaged. Come up onto the tip of your toes, then lift one foot off the floor and then the other.
- Engage your thighs while keeping your knees on the arms for support. Avoid sinking in front.
- To come out of the pose, on exhale, shift your weight backward and place your feet back to the floor.
7. Reverse Plank Pose
The reverse plank pose helps to build a strong core that can help you maintain good posture and improve performance in physical activities.
- Strengthens your core and abdominal muscles.
- Strengthens the wrists, arms and legs.
- Stretches the chest, shoulders, and ankles.
- Start in a sitting position on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your palms on the floor slightly behind and outside your hips and fingers spread wide.
- Press the floor with your palms and lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Gaze up to the ceiling and point your toes. Keep your arms and legs straight. Engage your core muscles and form a straight line from your heels to your head. Keep your hips in line, don’t let it sag or drop.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
- To come out of this pose, lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat up to 3 sets.
Frequently asked questions regarding yoga and muscle building.
- Should yoga beginners build muscles?
Yes, in fact, yoga is a natural way of building muscle using your own bodyweight.
- What type of yoga helps to build muscle?
Power yoga is the best and recommended if you are looking to build muscles and improve core strength.
- How many days a week should I practice these muscle building yoga poses?
Practice yoga every two days and rest for one day. This will provide enough time for your body to regenerate and build new muscles.
Yoga can do a lot of other wonders as well, including increasing flexibility, improving posture, and losing weight.
Let us know which of these yoga poses for muscle building you are going to try out today in the comments section below.
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