Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
September 18 2018

A Power Yoga Flow to Improve Functional Strength

By PaleoHacks
9 Comments

Today’s post is offered up by the good folks at PaleoHacks.com. I’ve always been a fan of at-home, bodyweight workouts, as many of you know, and this routine is worth adding to the rotation. Enjoy, everyone.

A Power Yoga Flow is just what you need to improve your functional strength, mobility and stability. But you may be wondering: ”What is functional strength?”

Functional strength is just what it sounds like—the strength to function in your daily life. Many of the movements you do regularly require lifting, bending, stepping, squatting, twisting, muscular endurance and more. A lack of functional strength makes life more difficult. You may get fatigued or winded simply by doing everyday tasks. By following a functional strength and mobility sequence like this Power Yoga Flow just a few times per week, you can increase your functional strength.

Good form is essential to maximizing your results while minimizing any risk for injury. Be sure to pay attention to your breath and the alignment of your body, and carefully follow the descriptions and images of each move. Take this practice at your own pace: precision and accuracy count more than speed!

Follow each of these nine exercises as a flow sequence for the number of reps given. Do this routine up to four times per week to see incredible results in your functional strength, mobility, and stability.

All you need is a yoga mat!

NOTE:

You might be sore the day after following this. If so, go for a light walk and do some gentle stretching. As you continue to progress, the soreness will subside.

  • Beginner: Halve the number of reps given or simply do as many as you can. Take as much rest between exercises as needed. Modify moves as necessary.
  • Moderate: Do the amount of reps shown.
  • Advanced: Increase the reps to an amount that feels challenging and take minimal to no rest periods between exercises.

Reverse Lunge Overhead Reach | 10 reps (5 per side alternating)

  1. Start by standing tall at the top of your mat with feet together.
  2. Place both hands on your hips.
  3. Take a very large step back with your left foot and bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle.
  4. Lift your left hand straight up towards the ceiling and lean slightly towards the right to elongate the line from foot to hand all along your left side.
  5. Take a full deep breath, then lower your hand back to your hip and repeat the same on the other side.
  6. Continue alternating sides until you complete 10 full reps.

Down Dog/Up Dog Transitions | 10 transitions (5x per pose)

  1. Start in a down dog position, lifting your hips high and grounding your heels towards the floor. Press through your fingertips to engage your upper body strength.
  2. Lower your hips to a plank position, then bend your elbows to gently lower your belly to the floor.
  3. Untuck your toes, and press your hands down to lift your heart up as you look towards the ceiling and rise into up dog. Roll your shoulders back and down as you exhale.
  4. Slowly bend your elbows again to return to the ground, tuck your toes and lift back up into down dog.
  5. Repeat, focusing on smooth transitions and taking your time in each pose, until you complete five down dogs and five up dogs.

 

Runner’s Lunge Floor Touch | 12 reps (6 per side alternating)

  1. Start by standing tall at the front of your mat, with feet together.
  2. Inhale, and take a very large step back with your left leg straight. Bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle.
  3. Lower your chest all the way down to your front knee and touch the ground lightly with your fingertips. Keep looking straight ahead, like a sprinter would before taking off for a sprint.
  4. Exhale to press your front heel into the ground and rise back up to standing.
  5. Repeat on the other side. Complete 12 full reps.

Deep Squat Hip Stretch | 3 reps, 5 breaths each

  1. Place your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart with toes pointed slightly outwards.
  2. Squat down as low as you can while still maintaining weight on your heels. Sit on a yoga block or stack of blankets for support if necessary.
  3. Press your palms together and place your elbows on the insides of your knees, pressing them open slightly.
  4. Keep your spine as long and straight as possible and avoid rounding your shoulders forward.
  5. Take five slow, deep breaths, then stand up for a short rest.
  6. Repeat twice more, going deeper into the stretch each time.

Push-up Down Dog Toe Touch Twist | 8 reps (4 per side alternating)

  1. Start in a high plank position.
  2. Lower your chest down towards the floor, bending your elbows to a 90-degree angle. Modify by placing your knees on the ground, if needed.
  3. Straighten your arms to press back, lifting your hips up to a down dog position.
  4. Reach your right hand out to touch your left toes in a gentle twist.
  5. Replace your hand and lower back down into another push-up.
  6. Repeat on the other side. Continue to alternate between push-ups and down dog twists until you’ve completed eight reps.

Plank Knee to Nose | 8 reps (4 per side alternating)

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands lined up under your shoulders.
  2. On an exhale, lift your hips and round your upper back as you lift your right knee up towards your nose. Focus on contracting your abdominal muscles.
  3. Inhale to place your right foot back to the starting position, making sure not to allow your plank to sag.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Complete eight reps total.

Skater Side Lunges | 10 reps (5 per side alternating)

  1. Step into a wide triangle stance with toes pointed forward.
  2. On an exhale, lunge down to the left until your left knee makes a 90-degree bend.
  3. Touch the floor in front of your left toes with your right hand and reach your left hand straight back behind you. Keep your back straight and your gaze straight ahead.
  4. Inhale and stay low as you transition to the other side. Imagine you’re skating on ice.
  5. Continue alternating sides and staying low until you complete 10 reps.

 

Total Core Crunch | 10 reps

  1. Lay down on your back and place your feet on the floor.
  2. Lightly place your fingertips behind your head and stretch your elbows out to the sides
  3. Take a deep breath in, then on the exhale lift your shoulders off the ground at the same time as tilting your pelvis forward to engage all of your core muscles at the same time.
  4. Relax and allow the core to stretch long, then repeat. Complete 10 reps.

Spiderman Plank Lunges | 8 reps (4 per side alternating)

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands stacked directly under your shoulders.
  2. Without changing the position of your hips, lift your right foot up to the side of your right hand.
  3. Press that heel into the ground to feel a good stretch in your hips, then place the foot back to the starting plank position.
  4. Do the same on the other side and continue to alternate sides as you maintain your plank position.
  5. Complete eight reps.

Thanks again to PaleoHacks.com for the excellent flow workout. Questions? Requests for other kinds of workout sequences, articles or videos? Let me know in the comment board. Have a good one, everybody.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

9 thoughts on “A Power Yoga Flow to Improve Functional Strength”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. So this post must have been put up late yesterday. Today’s isn’t here yet. Wonder whats up?

  2. Some good ideas to add to the workout toolkit, thanks! Regarding the Push-up Down Dog Toe Touch Twist … not gonna happen in this lifetime LOL. 🙂

  3. How timely
    These days I am re-introducing these things in my routines

  4. Thanks Mark for all you do to get health information out there to the masses!
    Awesome body weight sequence to share with my clients! These are all moves that I teach in my group fitness class of PIYO …. it’s a mix of Pilates/Yoga based moves … an excellent full body workout … wondering have you ever tried it?

    1. I’m 64 and have been doing these yoga moves in classes I take several times a week (12 years now). They are not easy and the instructor will have you stay in these poses for several minutes. You can hear the grunting in the class.. 🙂 There are many more poses that will hit areas of the body you didn’t realize were stiff too! I also lift weights 3x a week but these poses are a must! Taking a class will push you (but never too far to injure). Instructors always warn that if it hurts back out!

  5. How about a bodyweight workout that beginners can do? Making modifications to exercises that look completely intimidating is not gonna happen….what do we modify?

    I have never been able to step forward from a plank, even when I was doing yoga for years. That squat is going to need a chair. Just too impossible.

    Also, have you turned off Feedly feeds? Haven’t gotten one for two weeks.

  6. Yoga is a powerful form of exercise that has ability to heal many diseases. In recent times yoga getting popularity all around. Thanks Mark, for yet another superb sharing. The mentioned tips to follow power yoga flow to improve functional strength is just amazing. Thanks again, for sharing its various poses or moves and proper rule to follow these exercises.