6 Yoga Poses That Make You Stronger, Because Weightlifting Isn't Your Only Option
For some people, weightlifting is a way of life, but for others, the mere thought of picking things up and putting them down just doesn't sound appealing. If you're someone who isn't really into weightlifting, that doesn't mean you have to give up on building strength altogether. There are so many other ways you can make those muscle gains without ever touching a barbell as long as you live. Personally, I love incorporating yoga poses that make you stronger into my own practice, and I'm not joking when I say I've never felt more powerful when I flow through these asanas.
The cool thing about yoga is that during a strength-centered practice, you're literally focusing on lifting up your very own bodyweight for prolonged periods of time, which is incredibly challenging. Learning to control the movements of your body through the different asanas you perform on the mat allows you to strengthen every muscle in your body from head to toe, sans dumbbells or deadlifts.
If you're looking to get stronger but aren't really a fan of using weights to help you make the #gains, yoga has got your back, girl. These six poses are definitely on the trickier side, but they're still very accessible for beginners and will leave you feeling strong, in control, and more accomplished than ever.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Four-limbed staff pose is one of the most commonly returned-to poses in a typical yoga class, but you might be more familiar with its Sanskrit name, "chaturanga." When done correctly, this asana is incredibly strengthening for the shoulders because it's essentially the yogic version of a push-up.
If you include four-limbed staff pose in your daily yoga practice, your arms will slowly begin to feel just as strong as if you were lifting weights on the reg. After all, you're lifting the weight of your entire body, and that's not easy for anyone, girl.
Holding a plank pose activates all of the muscles in your arm, along with your core and glutes to help keep your mid-section in a straight line.
While you're in plank, make sure your shoulders are stacked over your wrists and that your fingers are spread wide so you don't dump too much pressure onto your wrists. Breathe slowly and engage your abdominal region, drawing your navel in toward your spine and envisioning all the strength within you radiating outward.
This variation of the classic plank will help you build strength in your side body, your core, and your upper-body muscles.
The balance might be a little tricky to master in side plank at first, but if you keep at it, you'll get the hang of this asana in no time.
Honestly, who needs a squat rack when you have good old chair pose? This bad boy will definitely have you feeling the burn in your lower body, because it's basically like you're sitting in a chair, except there's actually no chair underneath you to support your weight.
Use your breath to navigate any uncomfortable sensations that might come up during this pose. Remember: mind over matter — you're much stronger than you think.
Including inversions in your yoga practice is a wonderful way to build strength because you're literally supporting your whole body with only your arms and your core. Plus, these types of poses are incredibly empowering — I mean, come on, you'd feel pretty confident too if you could effortlessly balance on your own head, right?
If you're a little intimidated by the thought of getting upside down, that's totally OK. Simply working on attempting a headstand every day (with the help of a wall, of course) will help you build strength just as effectively. And one day, your hard work will pay off, and you'll be looking at life from a totally new perspective (literally).
Upward Plank Pose
I won't lie to you guys: This pose is my arch-nemesis. It's difficult as hell, but that's why I always include it in my practice: because you can only get stronger if you continue to challenge yourself.
Upward plank pose works your arms, legs, core, and back, and will likely give you a run for your money because of how deceptively simple it looks.
Remember to have fun with this asana, though, and don't take it too seriously. It's important to find enjoyment in your strength-building journey, and to remind yourself that it really is a life-long process to become the most powerful version of yourself.