Does yoga build muscle is a common question I get all the time. Most people stare at me in disbelief when I tell them that I don’t do weights is honestly one of the best parts of my day. How can I not train with weights and still have significant muscle mass? It’s because I do the right exercises (yoga poses); the ones that help you gain muscle mass by testing your endurance limits and break down your muscle fibers, so that your body can build them back up. (That’s how muscle gain happens)
What you need to be doing in yoga for muscle growth are exercises that test the ability of your muscles to support your body weight. Why does yoga work better than traditional bodyweight exercises? Because the tension on your muscles is ALWAYS present when you are holding a yoga pose. Spend 1 minute doing squats at an even pace, and then spend 1 minute holding a squat. Which is harder? You’re damn right – the squat hold. That’s why yoga is so awesome for strength building and muscle building.
Here are my 6 favorite yoga poses for muscle gain.
The Best Yoga Poses for Muscle Gain
Exercise 1: Chair Pose
If you could do one yoga pose to build your lower body strength and muscle mass, this would be the pose. This exercise engages all of the muscles of your legs, in addition to your core. It even works your upper body, by forcing you to hold your arms up over head. (Yes, even holding just your arms up can get tiring after a while.) Try this pose for a minimum of 60 seconds to start developing some killer thigh muscles.
For a full video walkthrough of the pose click here: Chair Pose
Exercise 2: Warrior 3
Whew. The first time I saw Warrior 3 I thought that the demonstrator was a magician. This pose seriously tests your body’s strength. You have to hold yourself up on one leg while pushing your hamstring flexibility to its limits, while isometrically engaging the muscles of your arms and lifted leg. Remember to breathe here, or you won’t hold it for any longer than 15 seconds. Make sure you are warm before doing this pose as well. Aim for 30 seconds, or even 1 minute – although at that point your form could start getting sloppy.
Exercise 3: Plank
DO. YOUR. PLANKS. Build your upper body strength while developing your core strength. Hold it for as long as you can for best results. Start at 1 minute and build your way up from there. (By the way – if you’re curious, my record is 11 minutes and 30 seconds.)
Exercise 4: Crow Pose
You have to support your entire body weight with your arms while squeezing your leg muscles and keeping good posture with your spine. This is a killer pose for developing upper body strength and mass. Hold it for 30 seconds, and try and build up to 1 minute. Make sure you keep good form though – you can really injure yourself or bring chronic injury to your shoulders if you repeatedly do this incorrectly.
For a full video walkthrough of the pose click here: Crow
Exercise 5: Haka Pose
This yoga pose is KILLER on your hamstrings, and equally awesome because it helps open up your hip flexors and tone your core. If you want your body to look like Adonis, then this pose is for you. Hold it for 30 seconds, and try and build up to 2 minutes.
For a full video walkthrough of the pose click here: Haka
Exercise 6: Dolphin Pose
Don’t forget about your shoulders and upper back. Dolphin pose is an awesome yoga pose for helping you gain muscle in that key location. Also, dolphin pose helps you develop flexibility in your shoulders, which helps you in handstands, crow pose, and any movement where you are pressing your arms up overhead. Without that shoulder flexibility, you are at a serious disadvantage! So even though it sucks, make sure to do your dolphin pose.
For a full video walkthrough of the pose click here: Dolphin
There you go. 6 yoga poses to help you build muscle, amazing strength, flexibility, body control, and balance. If you enjoyed these or have any question leave a comment!
Looking for A Program?
If you enjoyed these yoga poses for gaining muscle and you’re interested in a structured program to further your strength, muscle gain, and flexibility, then Man Flow Yoga has you covered with on-demand structured programs that complement your lifestyle and schedule. Sign-up below to try our 7-Day Challenge!
You might be interested in bulking, strengthening your glutes, or how to strengthen your weak leg, so check out these 3 blogs!
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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