Practicing yoga for leg strength allows you to focus on some of the largest and most important muscles and tendons in your body. Of course, not every yoga session should be dedicated to just building leg strength. Rather, yoga for leg strength should be one part of your larger practice.
You can weave together an hour of practice where you work all parts of your body, including your legs. For instance, you can start with three or four poses that focus on your legs, three to four poses that focus on your arms, and two or three that focus on your core. Or, instead, you can dedicate an entire session to just yoga for your legs.
When practicing yoga for leg strength, you should also consider adding some poses that improve your leg flexibility too. Many people overlook this part of strength building. They keep their focus on how much weight they can lift or how many reps they can do. But, without a healthy range of motion, being able to lift a lot of weight or do a lot of reps will only get you so far.
However, by working on flexibility, you can increase your performance by increasing your range of motion. As a result, you’ll be able to push that weight over a longer distance.
Regardless, you should make yoga for leg strength one of your priorities because it will put an extra boost in your step and oftentimes may even improve your mood as a result. On days when I practice yoga for leg strength, I find that I’m happier and more confident the next day. I even sleep better too! Who doesn’t want that?
Yoga For Leg Strength: How To Do Your Sets
When doing yoga for leg strength, you should do two to five sets of each pose. In each set, you should focus on proper technique. The first set is to warm up and diagnose how you are feeling that day. Especially in the first two sets, you should ease into the pose and focus on technique rather than depth.
On the second set, push deeper into the pose. For each subsequent set, try to push a little deeper than your previous attempt. Although, it doesn’t quite matter how deep you can go. What matters most is proper technique and responsibly pushing your current limits. The depth will follow.
Yoga For Leg Strength: Poses Explained
FIrst, start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, extend your hands and arms straight forward. Your hands should be parallel with your shoulders. Or, if you prefer, you can have your hands be above parallel with your shoulders. Doing so, you will target a different part of your shoulders than with your arms parallel.
Third, breathe a deep breath in through your nose. Fourth, as you exhale, slowly start to bend your knees and lower yourself toward the ground. Doing this, it should be as if you are sitting back into a chair. Be sure that your knees do not extend beyond your toes. If you were to have your toes against a wall, your knees should touch the wall too. However, your knees should not extend through the wall. Stop lowering yourself when the tops of your thighs are parallel to the ground. If you cannot go that far low, don’t worry. Just go as low as you can. Don’t be a hero here.
Hold the pose for 30 to 90 seconds. If you can’t go as deep as parallel, to push your limits, at the end of each set you should go a little deeper than what’s comfortable.
If you are able to hold the pose with the tops of your legs parallel to the ground for at least 30 seconds with ease, you should consider getting a weight vest. Weight vests typically range between 10-20 lbs. Some even allow you to adjust the amount of weight. By adding 10-20 lbs using a weight vest, you’ll feel the burn for sure.
Not only can you use the weight vest to boost your yoga for leg strength, you can wear it when running, lifting weights, or even when you’re doing things around the house. You have many great weight vest options that are comfortable and don’t slip or slide much when you move.
One-legged chair pose
First, start as if you are doing chair pose. Feet shoulder-width apart. Second, Take a deep breath in. Before you exhale and start to lower, lift your right foot off the ground and slightly bend your knee so that your foot goes behind you. Also, your knee should be pointing to the ground.
As you exhale, slowly bend your standing knee and lower down as far as you can. As you bend, don’t go deeper than the top of your leg parallel to the ground. Hold for 20 seconds. Next, switch legs. Hey, nobody said doing yoga for leg strength was easy! But, if this is, you’re a stud and should try wearing a weight vest.
First, start by standing with your legs shoulder-width apart. Arms by your side. Next, take a deep breath in. As you exhale, reach your straight arms toward your toes and lower yourself at the waist. Keep your back straight. Don’t bend your back.
If you can’t touch your fingers to the ground, bend your knees until your fingers touch the ground. Once they do, if you aren’t comfortable, you should walk your hands on the ground away from your feet until you feel sturdy and comfortable.
With your hands and left leg firmly planted on the ground, lift your right leg up into the air and try to keep it as straight as possible. Keep your hips steady and parallel to the ground; don’t let the right side open up. Hold it for 2 seconds and then lower your leg to the ground.
To increase the difficulty, instead of touching your foot to the ground between reps, bring your knee toward your chest. Do 15 repetitions with your right leg. Next, switch to your left. Repeat each set of 15 two to five times per leg.
If you are able to easily get through your sets and are looking to push your limits, you should wear ankle weights. Ankle weights typically range between 1-10 lbs. Indeed, some even allow you to adjust the amount of weight.
By adding 1-10 lbs using ankle weights, your yoga for leg strength will reach new levels. Not only can you use the ankle weights to boost your yoga, you can wear the ankle weights when running, lifting weights, or even when you’re doing things around the house. You have many great ankle weight options that are comfortable and don’t slip or slide much when you move.
Leg Press Curl
Get down on all fours. Make sure your arms are straight. Your hands should be under your shoulders, your knees should be under your hips, and your back should be flat and parallel with the ground. You should look like a table.
Next, starting with your right leg, press your right foot away from your body as you straighten your leg and lift it off the ground. As you press, raise your foot as high and far away from your body as you can. In doing so, your leg will curl up behind it. But, you should try to straighten your leg as your press.
Keep your hips parallel to the ground. After you reach your max, bring your leg back to its starting position so that you look like a table again. Do 15 reps with your right leg. Switch legs. Do two to five sets per leg.
Yoga mats are usually made of some type of foam that protect your joints and bones from hard floors by providing the perfect amount of cusion.
Despite the cushion, a good yoga mat should be firm enough to allow you to grip the floor with your hands and feet. Not only can you use yoga mats for yoga, you can use them for pilates and stretching too. They’re easy to clean, carry, and store. If you’re doing yoga, you should definitely consider having a mat.
You can start out similar to how you did for leg press curls. First, get down on all fours. Second, make sure your arms are straight. Third, your hands should be under your shoulders, your knees should be under your hips, and your back should be flat and parallel with the ground. When someone looks at you, they should see a table.
Next, starting with your right leg, lift your right knee to the right side of your body. Eventually, the inside of your leg should become parallel to the ground. Also, your knee will become even with your right hip. As you move, keep your hips parallel to the ground. Next, lower your knee back to the ground so that you are in table again. Do 15 reps. Switch to the left. Do two to five sets per leg.
Similar to leg lifts, if you are able to easily get through your sets and are looking to push your limits, you should wear ankle weights.
If you are new to scorpion handstand, you might not think that it is yoga for building leg strength. Although, after you try it a few times, you should realize that scorpion handstand does target your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. First, start by getting into a handstand. You can do this however you want.
For instance, one way is to start in downward dog, slowly lift one leg to the sky, and then jump off your other leg while lifting it up to the sky. Once in a steady handstand, you should start to bend the small of your back and slowly move your feet and legs in the direction that the back of your body is facing.
As you move, you are engaging your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Keeping your legs straight and moving slowly will help with control. You’ll also slowly start to open your chest and shoulders as your transfer your body weight toward the direction of your back. When balancing becomes tough, slowly bend your knees and open your chest and shoulders even more.
At this point, you should be engaging your glutes and small of your back. Please, don’t collapse into the small of your back. Rather, use your strength for control. Hold for a moment and lift your head up toward your feet at the end before coming out of the scorpion handstand.
By now, your legs should be burning!
You should do several things to help you recover. FIrst, get a foam roller. Second, use the foam roller after doing yoga for leg strength! Doing so will penetrate the soft tissue layer of your leg muscles. By penetrating the soft tissue, you will improve your recovery by increasing blood flow to your legs to flush out the lactic acid you built up by working on your legs.
Accordingly, this may be one of the best recovery exercises and should help increase your performance. You will notice improvements in your hamstrings, IT bands, glutes, quads, and calves. It’s like getting a great leg massage at home!
Yoga For Leg Strength: Conclusion
Whether you are practicing yoga for leg strength in order to improve athletic or artistic performance, to age gracefully and feel good, or to look great at the beach, it is important that you target all parts of your legs.
Do exercises that strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, ankles, and feet. Also, do exercises that add flexibility too. The poses mentioned in this post focus on building strength, but be sure to find some that focus on flexibility too. It’s important to balance strength with flexibility in order to maintain a healthy body.
Finally, whether you are doing yoga for leg strength or for any other purpose, you should remember to smile and have fun, especially when you find yourself in the most challenging parts of your practice. You’ll find this to be good training for real life.
If you practice smiling in the face of adversity when practicing yoga, you no doubt will find yourself smiling when life gets tough. If you’re smiling when life gets tough, you will make better decisions, which will result in an abundance of positive outcomes for you.