12 Poses for Robust Legs

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Summertime sends us outdoors—strolling, operating, climbing, biking, or standing nonetheless making an attempt to catch a breeze. What do these actions have in widespread?  They require us to make use of the facility of our legs. In truth, lots of our leisure and mundane actions require robust and wholesome decrease limbs. And whereas summer season shorts and swimsuits put our legs on show, that doesn’t imply we have to cease at merely healthy-trying legs. We would like legs with energy.

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Workouts for leg energy

Right here we provide yoga poses that concentrate on strengthening quads, hamstrings, calves, and shins. Your leg joints–hips, knees, and ankles—additionally play an element within the stability of your legs,  so that you need to apply in a approach that protects them as effectively. Robust legs to assist forestall falls and damage.

Many of those standing poses are weight bearing—they require you to depend on your legs to carry your physique weight—and that helps construct energy, particularly if you’re training hands-free variations. One-legged standing poses stretch one leg whereas using the energy of the opposite, so that you steadiness the contraction and extension of your legs.  The outcome, lean and supple legs that get you the place you need to go.

Earlier than you start these poses, heat up by standing Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and rooting solidly by your toes. Apply developing in your toes to construct energy in your ankles and affirm your sense of steadiness.

 

 

(Photograph: Andrew Clark)

Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

Urgent your legs collectively to create a protracted, robust column, will provide help to really feel the stabilizing energy of the pose. Then, as you bend your knees towards a sitting place, you’ll really feel your thighs activate to carry you up.  Strive squeezing a block between your legs to interact the adductor muscle mass in your inside thigh.

  1. ​​Stand in Tadasana. Inhale and lift your arms overhead in order that your biceps are simply barely in entrance of your ears. Both preserve the arms parallel, palms going through inward, or be a part of the palms.
  2. Exhale and bend your knees in order that your thighs are as parallel to the ground as potential. Your knees will mission out over your toes, and your trunk will lean barely ahead over your thighs till your entrance torso varieties roughly a proper angle with the tops of your thighs.
  3. Hold your inside thighs parallel to one another and press the heads of the thigh bones down towards your heels.
    Agency your shoulder blades towards your again. Direct your tailbone down towards the ground and in towards your pubis to maintain your decrease again lengthy.
  4. Keep for 30 seconds to a minute. To come back out of this pose, straighten your knees with an inhalation, lifting strongly by your arms. Exhale and launch your arms to your sides into Tadasana.

Variation:  Half Chair Pose (Standing Determine 4) 

On this asana, you’re holding your physique up with one leg in order that one quad is doing the work of two.

  • Start in Tadasana, bend your knees to return into Chair pose.
  • Shift your weight to your left foot. Slowly carry the precise foot up and cross your proper ankle over your left knee in order that your ankle bone is to the left of your left thigh, and your shin is perpendicular to your thigh.
  • Your palms can attain your arms up, be in Anjali mudra, or be positioned in your hips. Hold your decrease again lengthy.
  • Keep for 30 seconds or longer. To come back out of this pose, straighten your leg with an inhalation. Launch your proper leg to the ground and launch your arms to your sides into Tadasana.
  • Repeat on the alternative aspect.
Woman practices Pyramid Pose (Intense side stretch) in a room with a light wood floor and white walls.
(Photograph: Andrew Clark. Clothes: Calia)

Parsvottanasana ( Pyramid Pose/Intense Aspect Stretch Pose)

This posture engages your entrance thighs because it stretches your hamstrings. Holding your self within the pose–particularly when you aren’t supporting your weight together with your palms on the mat–requires regular energy in your legs.

  1. Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) on the prime of the mat. Place your palms in your hips.
  2. Step your proper foot again 2 to 4 toes. Line up heel to heel together with your again foot at roughly a 30- to 45-degree angle. Draw your left hip again and in towards your proper heel. Hold your hips going through ahead and either side of your waist elongated.
  3. On an inhalation, unfold your arms out to the edges. On an exhalation, internally rotate your arms, bend your elbows, and produce your palms collectively behind your again. If this isn’t possible, launch your palms alongside your toes, on blocks, or in your shin.
  4. Inhale, lengthen your backbone, and have interaction your quadriceps. Exhale, hinge at your hips, and start to fold ahead and towards your entrance thigh.
  5. Attain your sternum away out of your navel and preserve your collar bones broad to keep up openness in your entrance physique and size in your again physique. Launch your brow towards your shin.
  6. Draw the heads of your higher arms again and up away from the ground as you stay within the pose.
  7. To exit the pose, inhale and use the energy of your legs to return up. Launch your arms and step your toes collectively, returning to Mountain Pose. Repeat on the alternative aspect.
Hiro Landazuri practices Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose)
(Photograph: Andrew Clark)

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Prolonged Hand to Massive Toe Pose)

You’ll really feel this out of your glutes to the heel of your decrease leg. Extending the lifted leg additionally engages the quad whereas it stretches the again of your leg.

  1. From Tadasana, press into the massive toe mounds, and degree your pelvis and lengthen on the 2 sides of the torso.
  2. Agency your left leg, with out hyperextending the left knee. Bend your proper leg and clasp the massive toe with the primary two fingers of your proper hand. Press your proper foot ahead.
  3. Elevate the sternum up and restore a number of the curve of the decrease again. Discover if the precise hip is greater than the left hip.
  4. Discover an anterior tilt of the pelvis to deepen the work within the hamstrings.
  5. Descend the precise hip down and in towards the left foot as a way to convey symmetry again to the torso.
  6. Maintain for wherever from just a few breaths to a few minutes, then use an exhale to recommit to the rootedness of the left foot. Launch and repeat on the opposite aspect.
Person in Tree Pose
(Photograph: Andrew Clark; Clothes: Calia)

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

This pose promised to strengthen legs, together with your ankles and toes, one after the other. It additionally stretches your groin and inside thighs.

  1. Stand in Tadasana. Unfold your toes, press your toes into the mat and agency your leg muscle mass. Elevate your entrance hip factors towards your decrease ribs to softly carry in your decrease stomach.
  2. Inhale deeply, lifting your chest, and exhale as you draw your shoulder blades down your again. Look straight forward at a gentle gazing spot.
  3. Place your palms in your hips and lift your proper foot excessive onto your left thigh or shin. Keep away from making contact with the knee.
    Press your proper foot and left leg into one another.
  4. Verify that your pelvis is degree and squared to the entrance.
  5. While you really feel regular, place your palms into Anjali Mudra on the coronary heart or stretch your arms overhead like branches reaching into the solar. Maintain for a number of breaths, then step again into Mountain Pose and repeat on the opposite aspect.
A brown-skinned woman wearing a bright yellow top and shorts, practices High Lunge with her arms extended up
(Photograph: Andrew Clark. Clothes: Calia)

Excessive lunge

Holding this pose requires the engagement of each legs. The thigh of your bent leg is lively in holding you up, whereas the again hamstring is stretching. Dipping the again knee towards the ground provides your legs extra problem.

  1. From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), inhale, and step your left foot again towards the again fringe of your mat, with the ball of the foot on the ground.
  2. Attain your arms up, direct your tailbone towards the ground and, bending your proper knee, decrease your torso till your knee varieties a proper angle.
  3. Agency the left thigh and push it up towards the ceiling, holding the left knee straight. Stretch your left heel towards the ground.
  4. Maintain for 60 seconds or extra.  To exit the pose, exhale and step your proper foot again beside the left. Repeat on the alternative aspect.
Person in Warrior III Pose
(Photograph: Andrew Clark)

Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III Pose)

The one-legged Warrior strengthens your ankles and knees, in addition to calves and thighs. You might be supporting the load of your physique with the standing leg, however you’re additionally lifting, holding, and stretching the prolonged leg. Floor down by the foot that you just’re standing on, and don’t enable that knee to lock or hyperextend.

  1. Start in Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I) together with your proper foot ahead. Root down firmly together with your proper heel and draw the abdominals in and up.
  2. Straighten your left leg. Flip your left inside thigh towards the ceiling to roll your left outer hip ahead, then pivot onto your again toes so your again leg is in a impartial place.
  3. Inhale to elongate your backbone. Exhale and tilt your torso ahead, and attain your arms out forward.
  4. Shift your weight into your entrance foot, and tilt ahead as you carry your left leg till it’s parallel to the ground. Your higher arms body your ears, and your head, torso, pelvis, and lifted leg to kind a straight line.
  5. Proceed to interact your proper outer hip to offer stability in your standing leg.
  6. Push again together with your left heel whereas extending ahead together with your arms, the crown of your head, and your sternum. Tone your decrease stomach, and direct your tailbone towards your left heel to offer help in your decrease again.
  7. Maintain for 60 seconds or extra, then rigorously bend your proper knee and step again together with your left foot, returning to Virabhadrasana I, or convey the left foot to satisfy the precise in Tadasana. Repeat on the opposite aspect.

Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (Standing Cut up Pose)

Right here’s one other pose that makes use of a powerful leg to face on. Standing splits strengthen your thighs and calves, in addition to your knees and ankle joints. The again of the lifted leg will get a powerful stretch from the hip to the foot. The additional you attain together with your lifted foot, the extra stretch you will see behind your standing leg, and when you maintain your ankle together with your palms, your legs bear weight.

  1. Apply Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose), proper leg ahead. Inhale and cartwheel your left arm up and over your head, creating a pleasant opening within the left ribs.
  2. With an exhale, twist your torso to the precise, pivoting on the ball of the left foot to carry the heel off the ground. Then lean ahead, lay your entrance torso onto the precise thigh, and set your palms on the ground on both aspect of the precise foot (in case your palms don’t relaxation comfortably on the ground, help every one on a block).
  3. Stroll your palms barely forward of, and shift your weight onto, the precise foot. Then, inhale and slowly straighten your proper leg, concurrently lifting the left leg parallel to the ground.
  4. The right steadiness of exterior and inner rotation in every leg is essential, particularly for the standing leg. Elevate your hip away from the ground and angle the pelvis to the precise. Attempt to preserve the entrance pelvis parallel to the ground by internally rotating the left thigh.
  5. Pay shut consideration to your knee on the standing leg. Make sure to rotate the thigh outwardly and switch the knee so the kneecap faces straight forward.
  6.  Work towards directing equal vitality into each legs. You possibly can maintain the raised leg kind of parallel to the ground, or attempt to increase it barely greater; ideally your torso ought to descend because the leg ascends. In the event you’re versatile, you possibly can grasp the again of the standing-leg ankle together with your hand.
  7. Keep for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then decrease the raised leg with an exhale and repeat on the opposite aspect for a similar size of time.
Woman in Bridge pose
(Photograph: Andrew Clark; Clothes: Calia)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Stretches your hip flexors for extra mobility.  Strengthens your glutes and hamstrings.

  1. Lie in your again within the heart of your mat together with your knees bent, your legs and toes parallel and hip-distance aside.
  2. Transfer your toes nearer to your buttocks. Press down firmly by each of your toes and inhale to boost your hips, lifting from the pubic bone moderately than the navel.
  3. Clasp your palms beneath your again on the ground. Broaden your collarbones and get on prime of your shoulders.
  4. Agency the outer shins and roll your higher thighs inward. Press down firmly by your heels and carry the again of your thighs and the underside of your buttocks even greater whereas protecting the thighs parallel.
  5. To complete, exhale, launch your palms, and decrease to the ground. Permit your again to relaxation in a impartial state as you observe the spaciousness inside your chest.

In the event you want to make this pose tougher, carry your proper knee into your torso, then inhale and prolong the leg perpendicular to the ground, protecting your hips lifted.  Maintain for 30 seconds, then launch your foot to the ground with an exhalation.

A person practices Hanumanasana, the Splits or Monkey Pose in yoga
(Photograph: Photograph: Andrew Clark)

Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)

After all of the strengthening poses, this one–named after the deity Hanuman—provides you the chance to stretch each legs totally. When carried out dynamically, it’s a lower-body strengthener.

  1. Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Dealing with Canine Pose). Step your proper foot ahead between your palms so your toes are in step with your fingertips. Drop your left knee to the mat, and level your toes. Sq. your hips towards the entrance of the mat.
  2. Sustaining this alignment, shift your hips again so that they stack over your left knee, then alter your proper foot ahead to straighten your leg, protecting your hips over your left knee and going through straight ahead.
  3. Pause right here together with your fingertips on both aspect of your proper knee; press into your proper huge toe mound, and prolong straight again together with your left huge toe.
  4. Begin to slide your proper foot ahead whereas persevering with to pin your proper hip again and in.
  5. As your legs open, launch your buttocks away out of your again waist, and gently tone your stomach to discover a carry within the entrance of your pelvis.
  6. Hold descending your pelvis till the again of your proper thigh and the entrance of your left thigh come to the ground. In case your again thigh tends to externally rotate, preserve lifting your inside thigh.
  7. Descend your tailbone and soften your entrance ribs, then take your arms to the ceiling together with your higher arms framing your ears.
  8. Keep for 30 seconds,  then retrace the doorway, returning to Downward-Dealing with Canine Pose. Repeat on the opposite aspect.

Woman in Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
(Photograph: Andrew Clark; Clothes: Calia)

Viparita Karani (Savasana with Legs up the Wall)

After a yoga session that focuses on strengthening your legs, you might get pleasure from this restorative pose that takes all weight off your legs.

  1. Sit on the ground together with your left hip towards a wall. Lean away from the wall, reducing your physique to the ground till you’re mendacity in your aspect.
  2. Roll onto your again and swing your legs up the wall.  Regulate your place by scooting your tailbone towards the wall. It doesn’t want to the touch the wall.
  3. Loosen up your legs towards the wall. Place your toes hip-distance aside or no matter distance feels comfy.  You may really feel your femurs sink into your hip sockets.
  4. Discover a comfy place in your arms at your aspect, with palms turned up; chill out your arms and shoulders. Really feel the backbone lengthening.
  5. Settle into the pose and breathe for no less than 10 minutes.
  6. To come back out of the pose, bend your knees and roll to your aspect. Stay right here for just a few breaths earlier than utilizing the energy of your arms to slowly push your self again as much as a seated place.

 

See additionally: Yoga + Weights: Problem Your Power in Goddess Pose

 

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