The 6 Best Yoga Poses for Bodybuilding
Yoga for Bodybuilding
At first glance, you could be forgiven for assuming bodybuilding and yoga have little in common. The truth, however, is that they are much more connected than you think. After all, they both want to improve the human body and, even if they go about it in different ways, there is a certain amount of overlap that bodybuilders can make use of.
Yoga, for instance, hones in on your vitality through improved postures and a link between the mind and body. Compare this to bodybuilding, which simply focuses on muscle development. Weightlifting can often cause your muscles to shorten, as they become tighter, and yoga, consequently, becomes an ideal way to counteract this. The end result will be firm muscles with the length and reach needed to achieve greater motions.
Similarly, it’s fair to say that most bodybuilders put their body through its paces and often don’t consider the resulting stress. This includes poor alignment in your joints as well as less body fluids.
Including yoga into your regime is a great way to avoid these issues, as the attention on body posture and positioning will keep these vital areas in check. Yoga also enables builders to improve their stamina and endurance, as it involves holding key positions for long periods of time, improving the stability of your various muscles as a result.
As you can see, there are plenty of great reasons to incorporate yoga into any bodybuilding schedule, so let’s take a closer look at which parts of yoga can be of benefit.
Here are six of the most effective positions for improving agility, stamina, and overall balance.
One of the simplest yoga positions, the plank, is often much harder than it looks. By holding your body off the ground, yet in a straight line, this posture hones in on the inner core, helping to build muscles over time.
By keeping your back straight, the plank also helps stretch your body, allowing muscles to smoothly adapt around the shoulder blades and collar bone as you develop mass.
These are areas often ignored during weightlifting, so the plank can fill any missing gaps in your regime. Aside from a toned stomach, the plank can also decrease back pain, which will help when also undergoing intense workouts.
Side planks can also be added to your workout, offering the same benefits for the muscles along the sides.
Standing Forward Bend
Also known as Uttasana, the standing forward bend is excellent for improving joints and relative muscles. Specifically, it offers enhanced development of hips, hamstrings, and calf muscles.
The tension and endurance gained through this position can also improve the strength in your knees and thighs. This position requires the practitioner to bend forwards at the hips, causing the torso to lengthen.
Your elbows should be bent, with the palms flat on the floor.
Holding this position helps improve a lot of otherwise ignored muscles—with a key focus on the back and leg muscles—that can’t be easily developed via weights.
This position is much more difficult to achieve but offers some rewarding benefits. In short, the plow involves lying on your back with your legs pointed directly towards the sky.
Your hands should be supporting your back, with the elbows contacting the floor. To complete the position, bring your legs over your head so that your feet meet the ground, moving your arms to your side once you have done so.
This will complete the pose, which helps to stretch the muscles in your back and shoulders.
Bodybuilders should incorporate this, as it helps to increase the strain your muscles can withstand during heavier exercises. It can also help stretch your legs and reduce fatigue, something aspiring bodybuilders may also find useful.
Opposite Arm and Leg Extension
Also referred to as the bird dog pose, this simple pose offers improved stability to the muscles in your lower back, as well as those in the core. It can also help improve the gluteal muscles, too.
This pose is achieved by positioning yourself on your knees and palms. Holding your abs tight, lift your right arm and left leg so they form a straight line with your body.
Keeping this position for a few seconds before alternating your arm and leg helps to improve a variety of back muscles, as well as increase your balance.
Single Leg Exercises
This exercise focuses on the legs and lower back, but it is also vital in preventing injuries. To complete it, sit on your left leg with your arms held out straight in front of you.
Then, push back with your hips, bending your knee to mimic a position similar to sitting in a chair. Hold for a few seconds before pushing yourself up. As always, this should be alternated with the other foot.
Doing this regularly will warm up muscles as well as improve your poise and posture.
Also called the Bhujangasana, the cobra pose is named after its resemblance to a cobra raising its head. Lie on your front and push up with your hands, raising your chest and head.
The key focus here is not how tall your arch is but how smooth a shape it forms. Bending your back like this on a regular basis helps to improve your lungs, open your chest, and develop your spine. This all adds to improved flexibility, as well as firmer shoulder and abdomen muscles. It is hard to achieve at first, but you can develop from a low cobra to a high cobra position over time as you improve your mind and body.
One of the key ways bodybuilders can avoid injury is from correct posture and balance, which is something yoga excels at. As such, yoga can be an important part of any regime or workout routine, preparing you for the tougher sessions in the gym. It develops muscle strength while also balancing your core, offering a more complete body and mind.
Demmy James is a fitness buff, strength and conditioning specialist, and content contributor with Muscle & Strength. He is constantly looking to inspire and motivate through his writings.
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