Yoga for Strength and Muscle Building

Would you like to build muscle - especially in strategically important areas such as arms, stomach, and legs? We will show you how you can use your yoga practice for more strength and muscle building.

Many people still only think of yoga as a practice for relaxation and stretching. Absolute nonsense! Yoga not only strengthens your muscles - depending on the style and intensity - it can also burn a lot of calories. Above all, you work in the core muscles in many asanas, which conventional sports often neglect. In addition, yoga is a holistic practice that works the entire body. Just in the sun salutation you activate your entire musculoskeletal system and should feel (almost) every muscle in your body.

Which yoga styles are suitable for building muscle?

In general, dynamic, demanding yoga styles such as Ashtanga Yoga are the most promising for building muscle. Here you practice the same sequence again and again and thus receive an intensive and, above all, sustainable training success. But other flowing styles such as Jivamukti Yoga or Vinyasa Flow / Power Yoga also have a similar effect. When practicing these often challenging asana sequences dynamically, you will work up a sweat, while your entire musculature is well supplied with blood and strengthened.

In addition, even more, gentle yoga can actually support muscle building through the stretching effect. Because only doing strength exercises is less effective than relaxing them in the regeneration phase through targeted stretching of the muscles being worked on. Otherwise, it can lead to uncomfortable shortening of the muscles. Hatha Yoga or Yin Yoga, in which the asanas are held for several minutes, are an optimal addition to dynamic training.

Short sequence: The best asanas for more strength and muscles

The sequence only lasts five to ten minutes and is the perfect short program for a powerful start to the day: The three yoga postures activate and train your muscles and thus strengthen and tone your body.

Nice side effect: if you have more muscles, you also consume more calories!

1st board - Chaturanga Dandasana

Yoga for Muscle Building

The board or support posture Chaturanga Dandasana corresponds to the push-up. Above all, you strengthen your core, i.e. your stomach, lower back, arms, and shoulders. How to practice them correctly:

  • The hands are shoulder-width apart and placed wide on the floor, the shoulders should be directly above the hands, the view goes down.
  • The entire body is active and should form a straight line from head to heel. To do this, press your hands firmly into the ground, actively pushing your heels backward. Shoulders and buttocks must not sag - otherwise you will overload your shoulders. To do this, activate the area between your shoulder blades and gently push it towards the sky.
  • Hold the position for a few breaths.
  • Now lower yourself slowly and in a controlled manner with your entire body on the floor. The elbows point backward and lie as close as possible to the upper body, the entire body is active.
  • Stop just short of the ground, pause for a moment, and then push yourself back up into the push-up. The body is still fully activated and forms a straight line.

2. Downward facing dog

With the dog looking up, you stretch the entire back of your body. At the same time, you activate your back and your legs. That's how it's done:

  • While doing a push-up, press your hands firmly into the ground and push your buttocks towards the sky. Then actively push your heels down and back. 
  • If the stretch in the back of your legs is too intense, if it feels uncomfortable in your lower back, or if your lower back is sagging, bend your knees.
  • Make sure that the shoulders are relaxed, i.e. far away from the ears. Activate the area between the shoulders.
  • The neck is relaxed, the gaze is between the feet.
  • Hold for a few breaths. 

3. Warrior III - Virabhadrasana III (level scales)

The Warrior III primarily activates your leg and abdominal muscles. But your back has to work too. How to practice it correctly:

  • Walk-in small steps with your feet to your hands and so come into a standing bend (Uttanasana).
  • Bend your knees and bring your arms up over the sides over your head and then down over the sides again, so that your arms are relaxed on the right and left of your body.
  • Earth your left leg. Now bend your upper body forwards until it is horizontal, while you lift your right leg in a controlled manner at the back. Keep your hips straight.
  • If you want to intensify the exercise, stretch your arms to the side or shoulder-width forward. Breathe deeply and fluently.
  • Hold the position for a few breaths, then leave it as slowly and in a controlled manner as you took it in.
  • Repeat on the other side.

More yoga exercises for building muscles

Is that not enough for you? Then here are a few more asana ideas for strong muscles:

The chair - Utkatasana - primarily activates your thigh and gluteal muscles.
Warrior I and Warrior II - i.e. Virabhadrasana I and II - as well as the lateral angle - Parsvakonasana have a similarly intense effect on these areas.
You strengthen your stomach with the boat - Navasana - and its variants.
Do you want to do something for your biceps? Arm balances like the crow - kakasana - give your upper arms power.
You get an intense full-body workout with the side support - Vasisthasana.

Below we suggest some exercise videos with muscle-building sequences. Have fun!

Amelia James

Amelia James

Hello guys! I am Amelia James, a yoga practitioner by profession and a writer by heart. I have been a yoga instructor for the last 10 years. Now, I am investing some time in writing as well. Let’s catch up on some relaxing yet informative yoga topics!