The Lean Routine: Yoga Moves Designed to Firm and Tone

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

One of the best things about yoga is that there are enough classes, routines, and moves to prevent it from ever getting boring. There are even some routines designed specifically to help you firm, burn, balance, and stretch your body. Ready to try a yoga workout designed to shape up your muscles? Give one of these routines a shot for the ultimate yoga boot camp experience.

1. Fitness Circuit

Inspired by a Fitness routine, you’ll need a yoga mat, a set of three- to eight-pound hand weights, and a pair of gliding disks (or a hand towel if that’s all you’ve got on hand) for this yoga workout. Before you begin, Fitness suggests beginning with a few sun salutations to first limber up. Alternate doing one-minute intervals of the sliding exercises at top speed with a minute of slow and stead dumbbell moves. Try to complete the circuit two to three times.

The Crawl: Start on the floor in full plank position, palms on each end of the mat with your feet on gliding disks (or the hand towel.) Keeping your legs steady, walk your hands forward on the mat until your palms are near the other end. Lower onto your forearms, one arm at a time, then crawl backward on your forearms toward the opposite end of the mat, keeping your legs steady. Once you reach the end of the mat, return to the full plank. Repeat and continue for one minute.

Skull Crusher With Scissors: Lie face up on the mat, a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms and legs extended toward the ceiling and palms facing each other. Keeping your upper arms fixed in place, bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells by your ears as you lower your left leg toward the mat (without touching it down.) Straighten your arms as you switch leg positions. Continue for one minute, alternating legs.

CrissCross: Start on the floor in full plank position with your palms on the end of the mat and your feet on gliding disks. Keeping your upper body steady, bring your right knee toward your left elbow by sliding your right foot under your body. Slide the right foot back to start, then quickly switch sides and repeat. Continue alternating for one minute.

Flye Warrior: Stand with your right foot staggered in front of your left, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms out to the sides at shoulder level and elbows bent 90 degrees, your palms facing forward. Lower into a lunge position, bending your right knee 90 degrees and bringing your left knee toward the floor as you bring your bent arms together in front of you. Return to the start, continue for 30 seconds, switch sides, and repeat.

Warrior 3 Dead Lift: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides, a dumbbell in each hand. Place your right foot behind you slightly, keeping your toes on the mat. Stand on your left leg, knees slightly bent, and hinge forward from your hips as your raise your right leg behind you until your body is parallel to the floor, arms hanging down. Hold for one count, return to start, and tap your right foot down. Continue for 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat.

Plank to Pike: Start on the floor in plank position, forearms on the mat, and feet on gliding disks. Engage your abs and keeping legs straight, pull your feet forward toward your nose until your body forms an inverted V. Slide your feet back to start and continue for one minute.

Baddha Konasana Sit-Up: Lie face up on your mat with knees bent out to sides, soles of your feet together, and hold the ends of a single dumbbell in your hands, arms extended behind your head at a 45-degree angle from the floor. Engage your abs and keep your arms extended, sit up tall as you reach your arms diagonally forward toward the ceiling. Lower to start, repeat, and continue for one minute.

Skater: Stand with your left foot on one end of the mat, your right foot on the gliding disk, arms bent in runners position with right arm up and left arm back. Bend your left knee 90 degrees as you slide your straight right leg behind you, extending your right arm back and pumping your left arm forward. Quickly return to start and continue for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

yoga health exercise

2. Women’s Health Routine

“This kind of training creates a long, lean body that shows strength without bulk. Do these four poses as a sequence two to five times a week,” writes Women’s Health.

Plank: Begin on all fours with your arms straight and shoulders stacked over your wrists. Keep your palms flat and shoulder-width apart, and curl your toes under. Now, step both feet back until your legs are straight and your feet are hip-width apart. Bring your shoulders, hips, and heels into one straight line with the core and quads engaged. Press your outer arms inward and distribute the weight of your knuckles evenly, gazing slightly past the fingertips. Hold for five to 10 breaths.

Chaturanga: Moving from plank pose, extend your gaze forward and keep your ribs in as you bend your elbows halfway to the ground. Keep your elbows in and over your wrists, lowering your shoulders in line with your elbows. Now, keep your gaze forward and lift your shoulders. Make sure your upper back is broad. Hold for one to five breaths.

Side Plank: Start in plank, and bring your left palm to the center of your mat and roll onto the outer edge of your left foot. Stack your right foot on top of your left and press deeply into your left palm to bring your shoulder away from your earlobe, stacking your right shoulder over your left. Engage your obliques by lifting and stacking your hips, and extend your right arm straight up and gaze sideways or upward. Hold for five to 10 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.

Chair: Starting in mountain pose, stand straight with your arms down at your sides. Bend your knees and drop your hips, bringing your weight onto your heels. Press your lower legs back so you can see your toes when you look down. Drop your tailbone, firm your front ribs inward, and lift your arms up shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders relaxed, and gaze upward. Hold for five to 10 breaths.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

3. Gaiam Life Poses

According to Gaiam Life, as you move from one pose to another, your body grows stronger, more toned, and more flexible. The following poses will build lean muscle — quickly.

Tree Pose: Stand straight on your left leg, bend your right leg, and place your right foot on your inner-left thigh. Your right knee should point to the right, and your arms should be raised with your hands together above your head.

Shoulder Stand: Lie flat on your back and inhale. Exhale as your raise both of your legs straight up and keep them together so that your weight is balanced on your head, neck, shoulders, and upper arms. You may support your hips with your hands or leave your hands flat on the floor. Breathe gently as you hold this pose.

Cobra Pose: Lie on your stomach and gently push up with your hands, lifting your chest, belly and pelvis off the floor. You should feel a stretch in your chest, shoulders, and abs.

Triangle Pose: Spread your feet 3 to 4 feet apart sideways, keeping your left foot pointed forward while turning your right foot and knee outward. Inhale and raise your arms straight out to the sides to shoulder height. Exhale as you lean over to the right, extending your body out over your right leg and placing your right hand on the floor. Finally, raise your left arm overhead and look up toward your hand, holding for five to 10 breaths.

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