Strength and Mobility Training for Yoga



by Paul Young, BS, CPT

Some of the poses in yoga require a good amount of strength and/or mobility to get into the
correct position. While doing the pose with bodyweight can be challenging, if you are overloading the body in a similar pattern, you will be able to get to the position easier and hold the pose for longer without fatigue. If you do not have the mobility to get to a pose, there are a few simple exercises that (with time and consistency) will help to get you into the correct position. Do all of these exercises throughout any workout to help with your next yoga class!


Total body mobility exercise: For every position, pause for 5-10 seconds. In some of the positions, it is very hard to hold for up to 10 seconds, but in yoga, most poses are meant to be held for at least this long or longer. If you can hold these positions, it will make for a much easier time when it comes to isometric contractions (keeping the body where it is) during yoga or in regular activities.

  • Start by forward folding at the hips, bringing your hands close to or touching your toes. Pause.
  • Next, drop your hips down to the ground to end in a good squat position with your chest up. Pause.
  • Take your elbows, put them inside of your knees, then put your hands together in a “prayer” position and push your knees apart with your elbows. Pause.
  • Take your arms and extend them over your head as you arch your back. Pause.
  • Lastly, Stand up.

Repeat this 5-7 times.

Strength Workout:

  • KB Front-loaded isometric forward lunge: with one or two kettlebells in the “racked” position, lunge forward keeping knee in line with the big toe/ 2nd toe. Try to keep the weight of your body on the mid/foot or heel of the forward leg. Hold for 3 seconds before pushing hard off the front leg to return to the start position. Alternate legs for 8 total reps (4 on each side).
  • KB Single Leg DL: Start with KB in right hand, push right heel back as you set the KB on the ground in front of you. Try to keep a straight line between your moving leg and upper body. Imagine there is a rod going through your non-moving heel into the ground. Squeeze through your hamstrings and gluts to return to the start position in a swift movement.
  • KB Plank hold: Perform a plank while holding on to the KB hand grips. Start with your knees on the ground to get used to the hold. This will take a little more grip strength, but it will transfer over well in to holding the plank type poses.

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