3 yoga poses for upper increased body mass

October 30, 2015
Matt 'the Pillar' Miller

What?! Yoga is for bendy girls!? You can’t build actual muscle mass from it! 

Yes, actually, you can! (And help your lifts back in the gym at the same time!) 

Here’s why:

Normally our physical activities / sport are a combination of Concentric and Eccentric movements (positive and negative). But there’s a third equally important movement type we often forget about – Isometric.  An isometric or static hold forces the muscles to engage extra muscle fibers and stabilisers to hold a position under tension that would not have been incorporated in a dynamic movement. 

Building on this, an isometric hold also operates under the time under tension principal thereby building endurance slow twitch fiber growth which is also not activated in dynamic excercise.

Plank Push-up

Most importantly yoga teaches synergism between the protagonist and antagonist muscles used in a particular movement as well as the joint stability needed to maximise force working through the muscles. This is probably the biggest new revelation to athletes new to yoga.  

So now the excersises!

1. Plank push-up  (or chaturanga in yoga speak) is not your average push-up!  In the yoga version shoulders and elbows are locked into joint fully at the top and through the push-up movement shoulders stay locked down while the elbows graze  the body without flaring.  See if you can manage 10 with a 3 second hold at the top for each!

2. What is harder than a plank!? A SIDE plank!  Known in Sanskrit as vassisthasana, this position builds on the joint locking principle of the plank by putting all the weight only on one side as the body creates a capital “T” shape. Can you hold that position for ten seconds on each side? What about raising the top leg for more intensity!?

The Side Plank




The Dolphin move

3. Nothing starts to work the  shoulders as intensely as thedolphin. Dolphin, or macarasana,  is the precursor to a forearm stand which is one of the coolest (and hardest) yoga postures!  Start in a forearm tabletop position, lift the knees up and straighten the legs. Then walk the feet in towards the elbows as much as possible while pushing the shoulders back so they are behind the elbows. Hold this for 10 seconds and feel the burn. 

Do five rounds of this and tell me if do NOT feel some serious post workout DOMS the next day or two while the muscles are healing and , yes, GROWING! 




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