Got some exciting news for you – especially, if you are into yoga, weight lifting, or even a competitive weightlifting!
And, if you want to lift heavier weights and reduce your risk of injury, the following three easy yoga poses will help improve your balance, strengthen and expand your flexibility, and help you achieve your weightlifting fitness goals safely.
These 3-basic yoga poses are:
- Child Pose
- Downward-Facing Dog Pose
- Mountain Pose
If you practice them regularly, especially on your rest and recovery days, they will encourage you to:
- Fine-tune your alignment
- Improve your posture
- Increase your range of motion and flexibility
- Strengthen your core, back, legs, and arm muscles
- Promote a deep sense of calm, relaxation, and deep body awareness.
Pretty cool uh! So, let’s get started.
Note: First, as with any form of exercise, remember to check with your doctor that it is okay for you to exercise; and always listen to, appreciate, and respect your body as you practice these three easy yoga poses.
The beauty of these three easy yoga poses is they safely address the common areas of injury most weightlifters experience, which are:
- Cervical spine injuries
- Knee injuries
- Lumbar spine injuries
- Shoulder injuries
Bonus Tip: In addition to including the child’s pose, downward-facing dog pose, and the mountain pose as part of your fitness routine, I encourage you to also include yoga breathing exercises in your weightlifting training schedule. Know more about yoga breathing exercises here.
Learning to “breathe correctly”, “lead with your breath”, and “synchronize your movement with your breath” as you lift weights helps to relax your muscles, reduce tension and soreness, and create a state of calm that connects your mind and body, so you can safely execute your lift.
3 Easy Yoga Poses That Can Reduce Your Risk Of Getting Injured
1. Child Pose
- Calms your nervous system, which is necessary after a demanding weight-lifting session.
- Relaxes your neck and back muscles.
- Gives a deep opening and stretch along the lower back, upper body, and hips.
- Kneel on the floor and sit back on your heels. Bring your big toes to touch each other and gently spread open your knees to hip-width apart.
- Inhale. And as you exhale, slowly bend forward as far as you comfortably can, until you stretch forward and your forehead touches the floor.
- Stretch your arms out in front of you along the floor. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose till the count of three.
- Slowly place your arms and palms up, beside your feet.
- Continue to breathe softly and deeply into your upper back for 5–10 breaths.
Note: If this position is uncomfortable, place a small cushion between your thighs and abdomen or kneel back and separate your knees even further so your belly has more space to breathe. Also, if your forehead is not able to reach the ground, place one hand on top of the other and rest your forehead on the top hand.
2. Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Many people struggle with this pose, yet once you get the foundations correct, downward-facing dog pose will quickly become your fav-go-to-pose to relax and reduce tension and tiredness in your body. To know more about downward-facing dog pose, click here.
- Lengthens back and leg.
- Energizes your whole body.
- Deeply opens and releases tight calves, hamstrings, and shoulders.
- Strengthens your arms, wrists, and shoulders.
- Increases blood flow to your brain which calms and nourishes your mind.
- Begin by resting on your hands and knees in the table-top position. Keep your knees hip-width apart under your hips, hands in-line with your shoulders, and fingers spread wide, pointing forward.
- Tuck your toes under and inhale.
- As you exhale, press your palms into the mat and slowly lift your knees off the floor, drawing your tailbone upward toward the ceiling, and straighten your legs.
- Stay high on your toes and lower your heels to the ground.
- Keep your head lowered and relax your neck and shoulders, creating space between your ears and shoulders. Focus on “easing your weight” onto your legs and heels and lengthening your spine. Breathe softly and deeply along the length of your spine and down your thighs to the ground. Your body should look like an upside-down V.
- To come out of the pose, relax and lower your knees back to the floor. Slowly transition into the next yoga pose.
3. Mountain Pose
Many people forget how powerful the mountain pose is and underestimate its importance as an essential yoga pose to help you align and position your body correctly, on and off the mat/gym.
- Helps you to become aware and consciously think about how you stand, about your posture, balance, and the alignment of your bones.
- Helps you to stand correctly, especially, before you lift.
- Makes you feel grounded and fully aware of how you are standing.
- As the name suggests, the mountain pose encourages you to stand tall, strong, and still – like a mountain.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart; spread your toes’ weight evenly across your feet.
- Inhale and lift your toes; and as you exhale, spread your toes and return them to the floor.
- Do not lock your knees.
- Tuck your tailbone downwards towards the floor.
- Lengthen your spine from your hips. Draw up your kneecaps, thighs, and relax your abdomen.
- Next, scrunch your shoulders up to your ears and lower them back (this helps to create a space between your ears and shoulders, and allow the shoulder-blades to relax).
- Make sure your head, neck, and back are in a straight line. Let your arms relax by the side of your thighs.
- Look straight ahead, have a soft gaze and feel as if the crown of your head is lifted toward the sky; open and close your mouth to release any tension you may have in the jaw.
- Stand tall and steady in the pose.
Bonus Breathing Tip
Practice deep breathing exercises when you are practicing the mountain pose.
To do this:
- Stand in the mountain pose.
- Place your hands on your belly and focus on breathing deeply in and out through your nose, being aware of the movement of your hands.
- Send your breath all the way down to the soles of your feet and consciously, as you breathe in, allow your breath to flow up your spine to your crown.
- Stand strong and feel “rooted” in this pose as you focus on your breath. Complete this breathing cycle for 5–10 rounds.
If you are serious about lifting weights correctly, to get the maximum benefit, you must include rest and recovery days. Make time, today, to learn and practice these three easy yoga poses: Child’s pose, the Downward-Facing Dog pose, and the Mountain pose and include them as part of your rest day’s schedule.
With time, they will form the foundation of your weight-lifting schedule and help strengthen, align, and improve your ability to lift weights correctly, so you have a safe and enjoyable weightlifting experience.