Jock Yoga Tutorial: Leg-Strengthening Series

Learn how to strengthen your legs (Photo credits: Glenn Gebhardt)
Learn how to strengthen your legs (Photo credits: Glenn Gebhardt)

So far in our Jock Yoga tutorials, we’ve given you several passive and active stretches, basic flows and even the basics of a Jock Yoga flow to get you moving and sweating. Now we’d like to turn the focus to yoga for strength—beginning with the legs. By incorporating long hold times with fine-tuned adjustments in our power standing postures, we can fatigue the muscles (building strength and tone), stabilize and strengthen the joints, and thus improve our overall fitness and help to prevent injury.

Before going right into the following steps, you may want to warm up with a few basic yoga flows (described previously), and end by following some of the stretch-focused tutorials.

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Jock Yoga Tutorial: Leg-Strengthening Series

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Leg-Strengthening Series

Step 1: After your warm-up, come to standing width-wise on the mat with your right foot pointed to the front of your mat and your left foot facing the left (the back foot can be on a slight angle toward the front of the mat). There is a heel-to-heel, or heel-to-arch alignment in the feet. The front knee is directly over the front heel—facing the front of the mat—and is bent almost at a 90 degree angle—this means the stance has to be wide. Arms are straight and extended forward and back—the gaze is over the front fingertips. Shoulders are relaxed and down away from the ears. This is Warrior Two pose. Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths through the nose. Continue to push down evenly through the back foot without rolling out on the outer-arch or rolling in on the inner-arch. Try to roll the back thigh open toward the ceiling, while keeping the front knee pointed straight forward. This keeps the legs engaged and active, and also promotes opening on the inner thighs/hips. Continue to stay deep in the pose, and perhaps even sink a little deeper.

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Leg-Strengthening Series

Step 2: After holding Warrior Two for 10 breaths, place your right elbow lightly on the right thigh (don’t lean), and sweep the back arm up and over, so there’s a long diagonal line from the outer edge of the back foot to the tip of the top fingertips—the palm of the hand is facing the mat—the arm is straight and exergized. The gaze is toward the palm of the hand, and again, the shoulders stay down away from the ears. Hold this pose for 10 deep breaths, while maintaining your active warrior two legs. This is Extended Side Angle Pose.

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Leg-Strengthening Series

Step 3: Now for the real challenge! Your legs are probably feeling the burn—and that’s good! Maintaining everything as it is, extend your right arm forward as well, so the palms are shoulder-width and facing eachother. This is going to really intensify any sensations in your legs, and force you to engage your core. Don’t give up!! Take 10 deep breaths through the nose.  Then (finally!) straighten your front leg.

Jock Yoga Tutorial: Leg-Strengthening Series

Step 4: Phew!! Now that that’s over, with your front leg now straight, turn your right toes to also face the left side of the mat so that the outer edges of both of your feet are parallel to the front and back edges of your mat. With your hands on your hips, take a deep inhale and lift your chest toward the ceiling, and with an exhale fold forward and place your hands shoulder-width on the mat. With every inhale, reach the centre of your chest forward a bit, and with every exhale hinge at the hip creases a bit to stretch the backs of the legs (if your hamstrings are tight, you can bend your knees slightly). Stay here as long as you’d like to counter the previous work.

*When you’re ready, return to standing at the front of your mat, and then repeat the series on the other side with your left knee bent.*

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Get Jock Yoga CERTIFIED!! Our Jock Yoga expert Michael DeCorte is hosting his first Jock Yoga University 40hr Teacher-Training at Equinox Bay Street Oct. 2-6th. For more information and/or to apply, visit: www.jockyoga.com

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Check back every other week for a new Jock Yoga tutorial by fitness expert Michael DeCorte.

Michael DeCorte

Michael DeCorte

Michael DeCorte is the creator of Jock Yoga, and a media fitness expert-both locally and nationally. A former body-builder and marathon runner turned yoga teacher, Michael is also a passionate health and fitness writer and international fitness tradeshow presenter. Michael can be found at www.jockyoga.com and on Twitter @JockYogaGuy.

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