Strength and Mobility Exercises to Help with Yoga Poses

Photo: LifeStart General Manager Samantha Bland

Photo: LifeStart General Manager Samantha Bland

FITNESS

by Paul Young, BS, CPT

If you attend yoga on a regular or semi-regular basis (which you should), you will find that some of the poses are very hard if you do not have the strength or mobility to get into difficult positions. This workout is meant to be something you can do on a daily basis. Over time you should see improvements in for the chair pose, downward dog with hip extension going into warrior poses, and the rotational movements after being in a specific pose.

Mobility-

Mobility exercises should be implemented in all of your training before you begin to strength train.

Thoracic Spine Rotational Exercise: Start by standing tall with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, a slight bend in your knees, and your toes facing somewhere between 0 to 20 degrees outward. To get into the start position, hinge at the hips by pushing the gluts backwards. There should be a 65-80  degree angle between your lower body and upper body (looking 4-6 feet out in front of you toward the ground), and your back should be straight (neutral alignment). Your arms will be pointing toward the ground, perpendicular to the floor.

Engage your core by bringing the navel to the spine, then lift your right arm towards the sky by rotating to the right. Make sure to look at your hand while you rotate, and keep your hips level (this is the hardest part). Once you get to your end range of motion, engage the core, inhale deeply, and as you exhale try to reach your arm up and back a little further. Take 3 more breaths holding that position. Return to the start position and do the same thing for the left side.

Thoracic Spine Extension: From the same start position as the above exercise, raise both arms toward the sky with the core engaged, making sure to keep the ribs down. You should feel like you are “overarching” your mid-back. Imagine you are trying to hand somebody something who is over your head without moving your hips. Use the same technique as above with breathing and reaching further with each breath.

Strength-

Same as mobility, these exercises are things you can do daily, as the goal is to handle your bodyweight, and should not be creating too much soreness every time you do them. Do 10 reps of each exercise for 4 sets. Use a circuit format going from one exercise to the next.

4 sets of 10 reps followed by 60-90 second Plank

  • Push-Up: fingertips under shoulders-elbows at 45 degrees- lower the body as a whole unit
  • Bodyweight Squat
  • Single Leg Dead Lift: lower upper body slowly and contract through hamstrings and gluts in a quick motion to return to the start position
  • Plank: elbows under shoulders- bring the navel to spine- squeeze glutes and quads

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