Yoga may not be the go-to workout for building muscle, but with intense poses and a real focus on form, yoga is ideal for helping to sculpt a stronger, healthier body.

While there are plenty of yoga poses that work to build and strengthen muscle, here are some of the best for those really obvious yoga gains.

1. Plank

Copyright: vadymvdrobot / 123RF Stock PhotoThis staple of bodyweight training will creep into every single yoga class you attend. It works to build your upper body strength at the same time as torching your core. Try holding it for as long as you can in order to see some real results. Start with 1 minute work and 1 minute rest, and then build up from there.

2. Chair pose

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Chair pose is great because it’s basically a bodyweight squat that you have to hold. It engages all the muscles in your legs, as well as your core and arms. Try holding this pose for 60 seconds and you’ll quickly start to feel a nice burning muscle-growing feeling all over.

3. Warrior 3

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This bad boy is all sorts of exhausting, and will test your body’s strength to the limit. Warrior 3 combines flexibility, core strength, and balance, while isometrically engaging the muscles in your arms and legs. It’s a tough pose, so start with 30 seconds on each leg without letting your form suffer.

4. Crow pose

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Bloody crow pose is my nemesis. Crow pose involves supporting your entire body weight on your arms, while squeezing your leg muscles, and keeping good posture with your spine, all while trying not to fall on your face. This challenging pose is ideal for developing upper body strength. If you can hold it for 30 seconds you’re a better man than I.

5. Four-limbed staff pose

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You’ve probably heard your teacher call it Chaturanga Dandasana (pronounced chah-tuur-ANGH-uh dahn-DAHS-uh-nuh) because it sounds way more yoga-ey. It’s a big part of Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Dynamic, and Power Yoga and when done right it is perfect for building upper body strength in your chest and arms.

Typically performed within your sun salutations, it’s even more vital to ensure good form. When performed correctly, your body should resemble a rod or staff, with the spine in one straight line. Check yourself in a mirror and ensure a smooth straight line as you lower yourself to the mat every single time.

6. Dolphin pose

Dolphin pose helps keep a balance by working opposing muscle groups to the chest and triceps, by working the shoulders and back. It also helps develop flexibility in your shoulders which can help you progress to handstands or that damn crow pose we mentioned earlier.

Without that shoulder flexibility, you are at a serious disadvantage! So even though it sucks, make sure to do your dolphin… pose.

Check out a more detailed instructional article at Sensational Yoga Poses.

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