I know most people think of yoga as a way to stretch out. But what would happen if you tried using it to build strength instead? Using yoga for leg strength will most definitely give you strong, toned, sexy legs! That goes for men too (Is it weird to say men can have sexy legs?? You just don’t hear that as often…)
If your fitness goals include building strong legs, this yoga series can’t be beat. If you’ve been doing yoga for a while, chances are you are already very familiar with these 5 poses.
Yoga For Leg Strength
The various poses work all the major gluteal and leg muscles so you’re sure to get a nice well rounded leg workout. This is where I personally….sometimes…screw up with my legs workouts. Once I got a little to eager with the quad workouts and didn’t do enough with the hamstrings and butt and my legs looked…..funky, very asymmetrical. Easily fixed, but still, a situation you’d rather not be in I’m sure. You won’t have that problem with this series.
Yoga for Leg Strength: The Poses
As you go through this series, for optimal strength building, do one side all the way through the series before switching. If you are a beginner start with 3-4 deep slow breaths before switching poses. In time, try to work up to 10+ breaths per pose.
If you are looking to increase the difficulty in your workout routine, I would suggest not only holding these poses for additional breaths but you could also try adding some hand weights to give a more full body workout.
Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
To do this pose: Take a wide step forward. The wider the step the more strength building you get. On the front leg, your knee should align with your ankle. The back foot should be at a 45 degree angle, with the heel down to the ground. If you can, try to keep your hips aligned with your shoulders. This will give you a better stretch in the back leg hip flexors. Take a deep breath in as you raise your arms straight up overhead. Turn your gaze gently up lifting your chin with it without tilting your head back. This will give you a stretch in the front of your neck while still protecting your spine.
Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)
To do this pose: From the Warrior 1 pose, keep your legs as they are. On an exhale, extend your arms forward and back to mirror the legs. Open your hips and shoulders to the side. Your gaze should be forward over your front fingers. Don’t forget to check your front knee, it should still be directly over the ankle
Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
To do this pose: From Warrior 2 pose, keep the legs as they are. On an inhale raise the front arm straight up and lower the back hand down to the back leg, resting your hand either above or below the knee but never directly on the knee. You should feel a nice stretch in the oblique muscles on your side with the raise hand. If you want an even deeper stretch reach even further with that same hand. Squeeze your gluteal muscles to protect your back.
Side Angle Lunge (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
To do this pose: From reverse warrior, keep the legs as they are. Gently rest the front elbow on the front knee, but don’t lean your weight on the knee. Instead, push into the knee with your elbow so that you lift your weight off of the knee. Extend the back arm over your head and forward at a 45 degree angle. Push into your front foot to help lift your hips. The goal in the pose is to create a straight line from your back foot all the way through your extended arm.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
To do this pose: From the side angle pose, come back into the warrior 2 pose. Then straighten the front knee. Lift your ribs up and out of your middle, straightening your back as much as possible. Leave your hips as they are and slide your upper body/rib cage forward and out over your front leg. Then extend the back arm straight up in the air and the front arm down to your foot. For beginners you can rest your hand on your shin, your ankle, on the floor next to your foot, whatever you need to do to keep your front knee straight. For the more advanced yogi, you can stop depending on that bottom arm for support and shift the muscle usage into your torso and position your hand as shown in the photo. As you gain confidence and balance in the pose, rotate your gaze to look up at your raised hand.
As always after any workout, don’t forget to do some stretching poses to maintain flexibility. Yoga is a fantastic way to end a workout too!
This series of yoga for leg strength poses is an effective one. Add it in to your workout once or twice a week and see how fast your strength builds! If you have any questions (I love questions!!) just leave them in the comments. Namaste