Does Yoga Build Muscle?
When you think of strength training, yoga might not be the first thing you think of — but you should! Yoga has rapidly grown in popularity and a lot of young people are giving it a go.
- Can you build muscle with yoga?
- How yoga builds strength
- Yoga poses to build muscle
- Wall-facing handstand
- Side plank with raised leg
If you've ever tried yoga, then you have probably asked yourself this question.
Can you build muscle with yoga?
There’s many different styles of yoga and I've tried all different kinds of them!
After a year of regular training two to five yoga sessions a week, I can feel and see how my core has changed, as well as how my arms and legs have increased in strength. There's so many health benefits to yoga, and gaining strength is one of them.
So my answer is "Yes!“, you definitely can build muscles with yoga.
How yoga helps you build strength
Yoga is both body weight training and muscle regeneration. You bring your body into positions and orientations where your muscles need to support you such as downward dog, triangle pose or handstand. There are many poses that require significant strength.
See? You are lifting weights – your own body weight! The great thing about yoga is that you also activate those little muscles you may not see but which make you stand tall and hold all the poses.
Of course, there is a limitation of weight when you only lift your own. It may take time, more skill and determination to move forward with your muscle progress. So if your only goal is to build bigger muscles, weight training could be the faster way.
But there are a few reasons why yoga can be a more balanced way to get strong. The benefits to doing yoga to build muscle include:
- You train all muscles in a well-balanced way, the smaller and bigger ones at the same time, while with weight training you often only train one muscle group at any given time.
- Yoga can help you to perform better the whole day: walking, sitting, bending, lifting heavy things and even sleeping. You move your body in all directions with twists and rotations and not only back and forth. This mobilises your muscles and joints, keeps them strong and prevents pain.
- It can increase muscle endurance because you hold the poses for a longer period of time, several times each yoga workout.
As you can see, yoga is a good way to build strong and defined muscles. It strengthens your whole body and connects it with your mind, which – to me – is the most important thing.
3 Yoga poses to build muscle
I picked out my favourite strengthening yoga poses for you:
The wall facing handstand
This is a killer exercise for your shoulders. Start with the downward dog and walk up the wall until your legs are parallel to the floor. Then walk as close to the wall with your hands as you can and hold as long as you can. Don't forget to breathe!
The sideplank with a raised leg
This exercise strengthens your core and your hips. Start with a usual plank on your hands, then move on to a side plank. Your arms should be in a line and your hand is under your shoulder. When you stand solid, raise your leg and hold this position as long as you can.
Utkatasana or the chair
This exercise activates your back and legs and forms your booty. Start with a forward fold. Then raise your arms and bend your knees gently. Keep your spine long and your chest lifted. If you feel safe in this position, you can lift your heels to activate your calves. Hold as long as you can, then fold forward again.