Strength Training for Yogis: Lift From the Floor to Move Well

Training the clean and deadlift will help you move with more ease in your yoga, and in life.

Take the time to learn this week’s moves. Not only will they make you stronger, but they will help you improve your body mechanics. What does that mean? It means you will move with more ease. And everyone, especially yogis, loves to move with ease.

Building Life Skills

Knowing how to safely pick something up off of the ground is an essential life skill you use every day. Understanding the proper way to bend and lift prevents injuries and increases overall strength. When you lift correctly, you build strength in the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. But beyond that, these movements are functional, real life movements.

The most basic lift is a deadlift. We bend down with straight arms and pick an object up. Once we understand the concept of the deadlift, we can incorporate the clean, a more dynamic movement that move weight from the ground to the shoulders. These two movements allow us to pick up heavy objects and move them from point A to point B.

5 Points of a Solid Deadlift

Remember these five simple points of performance for a solid kettlebell deadlift: 

  1. Start with feet shoulder distance apart. Line the kettlebell up directly between the feet with the handle running horizontal with the arches of the feet.
  2. Draw the shoulders down and the shoulder blades together.
  3. With a flat back, send your hips back, bend the knees, and grab a hold of the kettlebell.
  4. Ground down through the heels and push up. Keep the chest lifted and keep the kettlebell in close to the body.
  5. Extend the hips fully at the top. Be careful not to hyper-extend the back or knees. Stand up straight.

5 Points of a Perfect Power Clean

Here are five points of performance for a perfect dumbbell power clean:

  1. Start with the dumbbells near the ankles. Set the feet hip-width apart, or even a bit wider. Send your hips back, then bend the knees with shoulders over the dumbbells. Keep the back flat.
  2. Draw the dumbbells off the floor by driving down through the feet and extending fully through the hips and knees.
  3. Pull the body under the dumbbells as you bend the elbows and catch the dumbbells on the shoulders.
  4. Stand up after the catch.
  5. Return the dumbbells to the mid-thigh position and lower them down to the original starting point.

From the Floor: 3 Strength Building Workouts

When choosing a kettlebell or dumbbell weight, your top priority is good form through all repetitions. Start with a lighter weight than you think you need. Work up to a heavier weight once you feel comfortable with the movement. The end goal is to choose weight that offers challenge but also allows you to do high-rep workouts.

Warm Up:

  • Jump rope 2 minutes
  • 5 sun salutations
  • 30 second plank
  • 30 second hang on the pull up bar
  • 30 second plank
  • 5 sun salutations
  • Jump rope 2 minutes

Workout #1

8 minute EMOM:

  • 8 dumbbell power cleans

3 rounds for time:

  • 30 kettlebell deadlifts
  • 15 pull up (jumping or banded)
  • 20 goblet squats

Workout #2

  • 5×10 kettlebell deadlifts

12 Min AMRAP:

  • 10 dumbbell power cleans
  • 12 box step up
  • 10 dumbbell push press

Workout #3

10 rounds for time:

  • 8 kettlebell deadlifts
  • 5 burpees

More Ways to Make Your Yoga Strong

Teaser photo courtesy of Shutterstock.