Yoga is not simple 'stretching' and it's definitely not just for girls. The greatest thing about it is that you don't have to be super-bendy to start doing it, but instead, yoga postures will help you become more flexible because it has applicable potential for absolutely everyone. But, since you are already dedicated to fitness and possibly weightlifting, you probably have little interest in starting yoga training.
But because it is so beneficial and great for improving athletic performance, you can incorporate yoga into your routine, by using it in your active rest days, or right after your training session as a form as a cool down. Yoga is a great complement to strength training, because it is restorative, but still a very intense physical activity.
4 Essential Yoga Postures
Utilize the following yoga postures to increase your performance, gain more strength and assist your ability to target areas of your body where you feel you may have limitations. These amazing postures will help mobilize your hams, deload your spine, improve your flexibility, and help relieve lower-back pain.
This posture is perfect to aid you in improving your hip hinge and it will increase your kettlebell swing and deadlift performance.
- Stand on a mat with your feet hip-width apart and with your arms at your sides. Pay attention to your breathing.
- Step your feed apart, about 4-5 feet and make sure that your heels are aligned with each other.
- Turn your foot out so that your toes are pointing to the top of the mat.
- Pivot your other foot slightly inwards so that your back toes are at a 45 degrees angle.
- Lift the arches of your feet while rooting through your ankles.
- Raise your arms to the side, shoulder-height, and make sure they are parallel to the floor and directly aligned over your legs.
- Reach from fingertip to fingertip with your palms facing down.
- Exhale as you reach through your other hand in the same direction as your foot and shift your hip back so that your pelvis tilts forward. Make sure you don't allow your torso to drop forward.
- Turn your other palm forward and reach towards the sky with your fingertips.
- Rest your other hand on your outer shin or on your ankle and turn your head so towards the hand.
- Hold for as long as you can, and inhale as you press through your left heel to lift your torso. Lower your arms and return to starting position.
2. Downward Dog
This one will help you lengthen and mobilize your back line and decompress your spine. It is also beneficial for your ankle mobility and Achilles tendon.
- Begin on all fours and place your wrists directly under your shoulder and knees directly under your hips.
- Stretch your elbows as you relax your upper back.
- Spread your fingers and firmly press with your palms to evenly distribute your weight across your hands.
- Exhale as you lift your knees off the mat and reach with your pelvis towards the ceiling. Straighten your legs without locking your knees.
- Bring your body into the shape of the letter "A" and push your hips and thigh backwards.
- Engage your muscles to press firmly into the floor with your palms and feet and hold the extension for 10 to 100 breaths.
- Gently release and return to starting position.
3. Warrior 1
This posture improves your thoracic extension and shoulder-hip flexion. It can significantly improve your front squat.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms to the sides. Turn to your left.
- Exhale as you step your feet 4-5 feet apart and turn your right foot out 90 degrees.
- Pivot your left foot inwards at a 45 degrees angle.
- Align your front heel to the arch of your back foot and keep your pelvis turned towards the front of the mat.
- Press through your heel and exhale as you bend your right knee over your ankle.
- Extend your arms upwards and tilt your head back.
- Keep your other leg straight and hold for as long as you can.
- Release and return to starting position to repeat with your opposite side.
4. Extended Side Angle
This pose increases hip flexor mobility and external rotation. Additionally, it lengthens your lats and it can boost your squats and overhead presses.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and with your arms at your sides. Turn to the left and extend your arms sideways to shoulder-height with your palms facing down.
- Step with your feet wide apart and align your wrists to your heels.
- Turn your right leg outwards 90 degrees and bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Slightly turn your left toes in and align the right foot with the arch of your left foot, and make sure you keep your back leg straight.
- Make sure you don't turn your torso to the direction of your right leg and exhale as you lower your right arm until your forearm rests on your thigh.
- Reach with your left arm up and extend it over the top of your had.
- Make sure you keep your chest, hips and legs aligned as you extend over your front leg.
- Keep for as long as you can and release to return to starting position and repeat with your opposite side.
Incorporate these postures into your active rest days, or after your light training session to ensure that you benefit from the aid these postures can provide to your heavy lifts. Try to combine them with your strength training as much as you can. You will have improved posture, increased flexibility, a stronger core and boost your workout sessions!
They can be a bit challenging if you are not very flexible at the beginning, but if you don't give up, you'll see amazing results in your athletic performance sooner than you think! Did you ever try Yoga before? Tell us how it improved your strength training routine!