Yoga for Strength – 10 poses that will make you stronger

We know that yoga helps with increasing flexibility, but what about yoga for strength? Are there any yoga poses that help to build up strength? Oh yes there are! Here are some of my favourite strength building yoga poses and I promise if you practice them even for 5 seconds each you will feel it!! 

1. Downward Dog

Difficulty: Beginner's friendly 
Strengthens: arms, shoulders, back and legs

Downward Dog is a perfect example of where we need both strength and flexibility and you can read a little more about this in my post The Two Sides of Flexibility. I call this one a super pose because it really effects the whole body and is super strengthening for the back which let's face it is the most important part of our body! 

downward dog yoga for strength

2. Plank or Side Plank (Vasisthasana)

Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced 
Strengthens: arms, shoulders, back, abdominals and legs. The whole body really!! 

Start with plank pose (both hands down and directly under your shoulders and then build your strength up until you're strong enough for side plank! You can take this even further by lifting the top leg up and holding the big toe which will require quite flexible hamstrings! 

3. Boat Pose

Difficulty: Beginner's friendly but can build up to Intermediate
Strengthens: Back, abdominals and legs. 

Boat pose is great to build up core strength. We are working on the easier version here but feel free to straighten your legs to create a V! I promise you that you will feel the burn after a few breaths. 

4. Tree Pose

Difficulty: Beginner's friendly
Strengthens: Legs, ankles, feet and core if done correctly

Tree pose always looks deceptively simple but there is so much going on in this pose. It is super strengthening for the leg that you're balancing on and really good for a strong and balanced mind! 

5. Warrior 1

Difficulty: Beginner's friendly
Strengthens: Legs, back, arms and shoulders 

All Warrior poses (as the name would suggest) are designed to build up strength! Warrior 1 is great to strengthen the legs but also the back muscles, arms and shoulder! It will leave you feeling energised and empowered! 

6. Warrior 3

Difficulty: ​Intermediate
Strengthens: Legs, core, back, arms and shoulders 

Another Warrior pose so of course we know already that they are super strengthening. This one also has the added element of a balance in there so a little extra challenge. 

7. Triangle Pose - Utthita Trikonasana 

Difficulty: Beginner's friendly
Strengthens: Thighs, knees, ankles, back and shoulders 

One of the basic standing yoga poses but don't be fooled! There is a rotation in the body here that really strengthens the back muscles and shoulders. See if you can hold this one a little longer and find lots of length in the spine! 

8. Crow Pose - Bakasana

Difficulty: ​Intermediate to Advanced 
Strengthens: arms, shoulders and core

One of the more challenging yoga poses for sure! For Crow Pose you not only need arm strength but also lots of courage! Build your way up slowly and start with lots of cushions in front of you so your landing is soft in case you fall 🙂 

9. Headstand - Salamba Sirsasana

Difficulty: Advanced
Strengthens: arms, shoulders, core and sense of focus and achievement 

The King of Asanas (yoga postures)! Definitely an advanced yoga pose and nothing you just want to "throw" yourself into! If the last time you did a headstand was when you were a child then approach this with caution and ask a qualified yoga teacher to help you! 

If you are worried about causing problems in your neck (it's a valid fear!) then you might want to consider starting with a FeetUp stool

10. and any pose where your child is involved 🙂

Difficulty: Beginner's friendly
Strengthens: your patience, creativity and bond with your child! 

Possibilities here are endless and it's a great chance for you and your child to be creative! Do a yoga pose when your kids are around and just see what happens 🙂 


Hi, I’m Christine, a mum of two and I love everything to do with yoga! My blog is about how to bring yoga into our busy family lives and how to stay fit, healthy and sane. I also teach group and private yoga classes for adults and families in New Malden and Kingston.

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