My Daily 10-Minute Yoga Routine for Better and Safer Workouts

If you want to know the 10-minute daily yoga routine that I use to stay flexible, mobile, and pain-free, then you want to read this article.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Even when done properly, heavy weightlifting can cause considerable lingering tightness in your muscles and joints.
  2. Just 10 minutes of yoga poses per day can help tremendously by improving whole-body mobility and flexibility. This, in turn, can translate into better performance in the gym.
  3. Try my routine for 30 days and see for yourself.

I’ve been doing a lot of heavy compound weightlifting for about 7 years now, and I started to notice something a year or so ago:

My body felt a lot tighter than I was previously used to.

Specifically, my thighs, hips, shoulders, and lower back felt more rigid, and my flexibility seemed to have declined.

I first noticed this during and after heavy squatting, deadlifting, and bench pressing. My right quads and shoulder were often noticeably stiffer than my left, my right knee would often ache, my left sacroiliac (SI) joint often felt irritated, and my lower back was sometimes sorer than usual.

These things weren’t just annoying. They also got in the way of my progress and increased the risk of injury.

So I decided to do something about it: yoga.

I started taking weekly 60- and 90-minute yoga classes, and after several months, had learned a number of extremely helpful poses for increasing my whole-body flexibility and mobility.

I liked the classes but didn’t want the bodyweight training, just the stretching, so I turned my favorite yoga poses into two simple routines that take just 10 minutes per day.

I’ve been doing these routines for about six months now, and the results have been outstanding.

The right side of my body is looser, my right knee no longer hurts after heavy squats, my left SI joint rarely makes noise, and I haven’t heard a peep from my lower back. Even my massage therapist was surprised at how much of a difference it has made in my general levels of muscle tension.

This means I’ve been able to enjoy my big lifts again and not have to worry about getting hurt, and this has translated into better numbers and faster progress.

I want to share my routines with you in this article because chances are they can help you too. They address the most common joint and muscular problems us weightlifters run into.

As you’ll see, there are two routines—lower and upper body—and each consists of just five poses that take one to two minutes each to complete.

I alternate between the upper and lower body routines on a daily basis, but started with just the lower body one because I wanted to address that first. Once things below the belt had noticeably improved, I began alternating with the upper body routine.

Enjoy!

My Lower Body Yoga Routine for Better and Safer Weightlifting

Here are my five favorite lower body yoga poses for improving leg, hip, ankle, and lower back mobility and flexibility.

I do all five of these poses in the following order:

  1. Reclined Thunderbolt Pose (Supta Vajrasana)
  2. One-Leg Reclined Thunderbolt Pose (Supta Vajrasana)
  3. Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)
  4. Eye of the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana)
  5. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrāsana)

1. Reclined Thunderbolt Pose (Supta Vajrasana)

yoga routine

I hated this pose at first because I sucked at it.

It was actually embarrassing how little mobility I had in my hips, thighs, and right ankle (which I sprained pretty badly years ago playing paintball).

After several months of doing it, however, I saw fantastic increases in range of motion that were particularly helpful in my squatting.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit on your knees with your feet under your butt on a comfortable surface.
  2. Spread your knees and feet enough that your butt can fit between them.
  3. Rest both hands on the ground on either side of you, and slowly lean backward.
  4. Lean as far backward as you can without pain, then hold this position for 5 to 10 deep breaths, or 30 to 60 seconds.
  5. Try to keep your back and neck more or less straight.
  6. If you’re flexible enough, lean all the way back so that your head is resting on the ground behind you.

2. One-Leg Reclined Thunderbolt Pose (Supta Vajrasana)

yoga routine for beginners

This pose helped me get to the point where I could perform the Reclined Thunderbolt Pose properly, and I still do both because this allows for a deeper stretch.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit on your knees with your feet under your butt on a comfortable surface.
  2. Extend your left leg out in front of you.
  3. Spread your right knee and foot slightly out to the right.
  4. Rest both hands on the ground on either side of you, and slowly lean backward.
  5. Lean as far backward as you can without pain, then hold this position for 5 to 10 deep breaths (30 to 60 seconds).
  6. Try to keep your back and neck more or less straight.
  7. If you’re flexible enough, lean all the way back so that your head is resting on the ground behind you.
  8. Switch legs and repeat.

3. Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)

morning yoga routine

This pose worked wonders for me because it really “opens up” the muscles on the outside of your thighs and hips (the hip abductors), which tend to get really tight from lower body training.

I also found that the right side of my hips had a lot less external rotation available to them than my left. This is still slightly the case, but it’s far less now than when I started doing this pose regularly.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit on your knees on the floor.
  2. Extend your right foot in front of your body and toward your left shoulder.
  3. Stretch your left leg out behind you, either with your toes on the ground or with the top of your foot resting on the floor.
  4. Place your hands on the ground in front of you, and keeping your back straight, lean forward as far as you can without pain.
  5. Try to keep your hips more or less aligned (not letting your right or left hip shift ahead or behind of the other one).
  6. Hold this position for 5 to 10 deep breaths (30 to 60 seconds).
  7. Switch legs and repeat.

4. Eye of the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana)

yoga routine for men

This pose has a similar effect to the last, helping loosen the glutes, low-back, and outside of the hips.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with both legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Place your left foot on your right thigh, just above the knee.
  3. Grab your right thigh by reaching your left arm through the hole created by your legs and wrapping your right arm around the side of your right thigh, and pull it toward your chest. Keep your back relatively straight.
  4. Hold this position for 5 to 10 deep breaths (30 to 60 seconds).
  5. Switch legs and repeat.

5. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrāsana)

yoga routine for weight loss

I mentioned early that my left SI joint was being finicky, and this pose really helped work out the kinks. It also helps loosen my upper back.

The regular Marichi’s pose doesn’t involve crossing your legs, but I find that gives me a better stretch.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit on the ground with both legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Plant your left foot on the outside of your right leg, as close to your hips as you can.
  3. Place your right elbow on the left side of your left knee, and place your left hand on the ground behind you.
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