6 Best Yoga Exercises for Bodybuilders

Although yoga and bodybuilding may seem completely opposite, they are in fact, complementary to each other (Image via Pexels @Mario Valenzuela)
Although yoga and bodybuilding may seem different, they are complementary to each other. (Image via Pexels/Mario Valenzuela)

Not only do bodybuilding and yoga start with alphabet names at either end of the spectrum, but they are also as different as any two workouts can be.

While bodybuilding is all about moving quickly, isolating and developing specific muscles, and training almost solely for looks, yoga is all about moving slowly and holding poses for a long time. It's also much more holistic.

However, contrary to what many people think, yoga and bodybuilding can complement each other well. In fact, if you add yoga to your workout, you might get even more out of your time at the gym.


Best Yoga Exercises for Bodybuilders

We've picked out the six best yoga poses for bodybuilders so that you don't have to go through hundreds of different ones. Even so, you don't have to do all of them. Just pick the ones you think will help you the most.

These six yoga poses and exercises have been especially curated for bodybuilders:

1) Yoga Push-up

This should be the one yoga move you do if you only do one. Yoga push-ups are a great warm-up exercise for training the upper and lower body. When you do this exercise, the shoulders, elbows, lower back, and hips warm up and move more freely.

Here's how you do this exercise:

  • Straighten your arms and body into a push-up position. Brace your core.
  • Take a deep breath in, and drop your chest to the floor.
  • Exhale; stretch your arms out, and push your hips back and up to make the shape of an upside-down 'V'.
  • You can gently open your shoulders by putting your head down between your arms.
  • Move forward and down into a push-up position again and again.
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2) Upward Facing Dog

Low back that's tight and stiff? Spend too much time hunched over your computer at your desk? The yoga pose for you is the upward facing dog. It's a nice way to relax, and it can only help your lower back. It also has a slight decompressing effect that can help after heavy squats and deadlifts.

Here's how you do this exercise:

  • Lie on your front with your legs straight and forehead on the floor.
  • Bring your hands up and under your shoulders as if you were about to do a push-up.
  • Keeping your hips on the floor, stretch your arms out, and lift your upper body as far as you can comfortably go. Raise your head slowly, and look up at the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, or slowly lower yourself to the floor and do several slow, smooth reps.
  • As your muscles loosen up, try to stretch your arms a little further.
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3) Pigeon Pose

If your hips are tight, you may not be able to squat, lunge, or deadlift as well as you could, which can cause back pain. Most people have tight hips, as they spend too much time sitting. This modified version of the pigeon pose is a great way to open up the hips and warm up the lower body.

Here's how you do this exercise:

  • Get on all fours on the floor, and straighten out one leg behind you.
  • Sit back, and roll your bent leg outward so that your front foot is below your opposite hip.
  • As far as it feels good, lower your body towards the floor. If you can, put your forearms on the floor in front of you.
  • If you don't want to, keep your arms straight.
  • Hold for 30–60 seconds, and slowly move to the other side.
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4) Low Lunge

The low lunge is another great exercise for opening the hips. It also stretches the back and moves the shoulders. It's a great way to warm up the entire body, especially for bodybuilders.

Here's how you do this yoga pose:

  • Get on all fours on the floor. Bring one foot up to your hands and forward. If you must, move your back leg back a few inches.
  • Raise your upper body till you're standing up straight, keeping your core tight and hips facing forward.
  • Lift your arms up and over your head without putting too much strain on your back. Try to get to the top.
  • Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, and switch legs.
  • Step up this pose by stretching out your back leg. That gives a deeper stretch and also helps you keep your balance better.
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5) Chair Pose Twist

Aside from the occasional set of Russian twists, many bodybuilders don't do a lot of exercises that rotate their spine. That can make them feel tight and cause pain in the lower back. Rotation can help relieve tightness, bring back lost mobility, improve posture, and make the body work better.

Here's how you do this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet together and hands in front of your chest in the prayer position.
  • Make a half-squat by bending your knees and lowering yourself.
  • Turn your upper body, and put your right arm's triceps against the outside of your left leg. To make the twist stronger, press your arm outward.
  • Don't let your lower back round.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds, and slowly move to the other side.
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6) Cat Cow Pose

It's a gentle but effective way to move the spine, relieve stiffness, and prevent back pain, especially for bodybuilders.

When you do heavy squats and deadlifts, the spine gets compressed. Sitting for long periods can exacerbate the problem. This low-stress exercise is a great way to warm up the back before lifting heavy things or to break up long periods of sitting or driving.

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Here's how you do this exercise:

  • Kneel on all fours, with your back and neck in a neutral position.
  • Exhalem and lift the middle of your back up toward the ceiling. Make a big arch with a round top.
  • As you breathe in, lower your stomach toward the floor, and lift your head at the same time.
  • Switch between these two positions smoothly for 5-10 reps.

Takeaway

The aforementioned yoga exercises are best for bodybuilders, as they help relieve important muscles and make them loose and flexible, increasing comfort and boosting well-being.

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Edited by Bhargav