Burn Calories With 5 Yoga Moves Using Weights

We all know that yoga has unquestionable mind-body benefits and that strength training is a sure-fire way to build lean muscle mass, so why not hit two birds with one stone and combine both? That’s exactly the premise of CorePower Yoga Sculpt, which melds vinyasa yoga with strength training to strengthen the entire body, burn calories, and improve flexibility. “There are so many benefits to adding weights to your yoga practice like building stronger yoga postures through a stronger body and challenging your breath capacity to stay connected mentally and physically to your yoga practice,” said CorePower Yoga instructor Marnie Crowe. “You’ll also benefit from long term calorie burn, even at rest.” 

With this in mind, we asked Crowe to show us five of her favorite yoga moves taken up a notch with the addition of weights.

1. Chair pose (Utkatasana) with tricep kickbacks

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Chair pose with tricep kickbacks | Source: Marnie Crowe

  • Setup: Big toes touch, slight sliver in heels, sit hips back and down, weights in hands, palms face toward each other, elbows cemented to side, arms move from forearms down
  • Breath: Inhale palms toward body, exhale press weights away from body
  • Muscles targeted: Quadriceps and triceps
  • Yoga benefits: Increases heart rate, circulation, and stimulates metabolism
  • Variations: Add in a heel raise with each tricep kickback for extra calf and inner thigh engagement

2. Crescent lunge (Anjaneyasana) with wide arm row

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Crescent lunge with wide arm row | Source: Marnie Crowe

  • Setup: Front knee stacks over front ankle, press through back heel, hips square, hinge upper body forward, reach arms forward, palms face down, draw elbows toward the sky and bend at 90 degrees, squeeze upper back
  • Breath: Inhale reach arms, exhale draw elbows to sky
  • Muscles targeted: Quadriceps, core, traps, rhomboids, lats, delts, and pecs
  • Yoga benefits: Enhances balance and stability, elongates vertebrae, opens hips
  • Variations: Add in a front heel raise for extra quadricep and calf engagement

3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana ll) with elevated bicep curl

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Warrior II with elevated bicep curl | Source: Marnie Crowe

  • Setup: Front foot faces forward, back foot is grounded and slightly forward, front knee stacked over front ankle, shoulders stack over hips, arms are lengthened in alignment with shoulders weights in hands, bend elbow and stop palms over elbows
  • Breath: Inhale reach arms, exhale curl arms to stop over elbows
  • Muscles targeted: Quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps, shoulders
  • Yoga benefits: Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles, stimulates abdominal organs, increases stamina and focus, stretches the groins, chest, lungs, and shoulders
  • Variations: Add in a front lunge for more leg engagement

4. Reverse warrior (Paravritta Virabhadrasana) with side oblique pull-down

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Reverse warrior with side oblique pull-downSource: Marnie Crowe

  • Setup: Front foot faces forward, back foot is grounded and slightly forward, front knee stacked over front ankle, shoulders stack over hips, front arm lengthens above shoulder with weight in hand facing toward body, pull weight toward hip
  • Breath: Inhale lengthen weight above shoulder, exhale pull weight to hip
  • Muscles targeted: Quadriceps, hamstrings, side obliques
  • Yoga benefits: Strengthens legs and glutes, creates hip opening
  • Variations: Elbow in alignment with shoulder to prevent shoulder issues

5. Yogi master maker

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Yogi master maker exercise | Source: Marnie Crowe

  • Setup: High plank, shoulders stack over wrists, weights in hand, pull one weight at a time past ribs, step or jump feet to the outside of hands to a low squat, use legs to squat and curl weights to chest, press weights above head and come to standing position
  • Breath: Inhale reach weights to mat, exhale pull weights past ribs, inhale jump to top of mat, exhale press weights above head
  • Muscles targeted: Back, core, hamstrings, glutes, biceps, and shoulders
  • Yoga benefits: Strengthens core, spine, arms, and legs
  • Variations: On knees in high plank
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