Three top reasons men give for shying away from yoga are lack of flexibility, the idea that it’s not a “real” workout and a general fear of being judged. Fortunately, you can smash through these roadblocks because the goal of yoga is to help you increase flexibility. You have room to grow. Yoga is a workout that varies in intensity and type. Yoga can be geared to strength, power and working up a sweat. There’s no room for judgment in yoga. Your practice is your practice and should cater to your needs. Comparisons to the guy or gal next to you aren’t part of the picture.
Any kind of yoga can increase your balance, mobility, breathing, focus, and flexibility which will make your strength and cardio workouts more effective (even if you’re male).
3 Yoga Poses Great for Flexibility
1) Downward Dog
If you’ve spent a lot of time lifting weights, chances are your calves, chest, hamstrings, and lats are very tight. Downward Dog can help! Start on your hands and knees. Lift your hips in the air, press your heels toward the ground, try to straighten your legs and shift your weight, so your body looks like an upside-down “V.”
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2) Prayer Squat
Prayer Squat can loosen your back, Achilles, and hips which will improve your squats in the weight room. Start with feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees until your hamstrings touch your calves. Place your arms against your inner thighs. Add tension by pressing your palms together to form prayer hands and push your arms against your legs.
You’ll improve your upper body lifts and cardio workouts too if you can gain mobility in your shoulders and loosen up any tightness in your chest. For Reverse Prayer Hands take your palms together behind your back and inch them up your spine.
3 Yoga Poses Great for Strength
1) Side Plank
There are two levels to Side Plank. Both will strengthen your obliques, back, legs and arms. Start in a plank. Drop your left knee down and lift your right arm up as you turn toward the right. If that’s easy, try extending your bottom leg (left) to come off of your knee. Repeat on the other side.
2) Chair Pose
Hold Chair Pose for a while to challenge your core, thighs, and glutes. Start with your feet together. Reach your hands in front of you and start bending your knees like you’re sitting down.
3) Boat Pose
Your hip flexors, quads, and core will reap the benefits of Boat Pose. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet on the ground. Lean back to a 45-degree angle. Lift your feet off of the ground. Try straightening your legs.