Last week I wrote about doing CrossFit and about how impressive their workout philosophy is. They are a true full body fitness regime that you can do in very little time. I also said CrossFit is second best only to martial arts. This got me thinking about which art would be best to work different body parts without numerous training sessions. I came up with Yoga.
Yoga is an amazing way to sculpt muscle and especially the legs (for the sake of today). At first, I was pondering Muay Thai or Tae Kwon Do because of their devastatingly powerful kicks. However, to get the most out them for fitness, you need to receive some training, for if you strike a heavy bag with improper form you could get some serious injuries like sprains or even stress fractures.
Yoga is a great art in that you can get as advanced as you like. In a simple Google search of “Yoga for beginners,” I was presented with many sites offering free workout routines, video, pose images, and more. I gave a few a test try and was able to do the moves and quickly saw the merit.
The great thing about Yoga is that you use your body to build your body’s muscle. For example, I am a 200 lb man and by doing a Warrior Stance I am using my weight to build my muscles. Yoga works so well because it is isometric exercise that you train your body to enjoy. This means that normally you are going to get a good pump and once you start to feel the burn, you hold it a second and then return to the starting point…all the while blaring your workout playlist. In Yoga, you control your body’s reaction to exercise with breathing and finding a calm mental state. Basically, you are doing squats and lunges with less weight and holding it longer. This pushes your muscles harder and makes your body more efficient.
All the new fitness regimens are taking to Yoga and incorporating as much as they can. P90X uses Yoga, CrossFit gyms do, and many body builders are even sneaking into the back of the class at their gyms to take advantage. Usually, fitness regimes are gauged by their longevity and Yoga goes back thousands of years…even before Ron Burgandy started jogging.
I will list out the stances I think are best for beginners to build leg muscles, but you will have to seek them out yourself. This is for two reasons: 1) The image will explain them better than my words can and 2) I want you to see how easy it is find a workout.
Poses for lower body:
Warrior Stance, Warrior 2, Reverse Warrior, Peaceful Warrior, Chair Pose, Extended Side Angle, High Lunge, High Lunge with twist, Down Dog Split, and Leg Lunges.
A great and simple starter workout for a quick taste is the Sun Salutation.
Please, be responsible before buying Yoga pants…they are not for everyone.
(Photo courtesy of Michael Lorenzo)