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8 Yoga Poses for Strong Legs

Tone and strengthen your legs with this simple yoga routine.

Updated on March 12, 2024

woman doing yoga outdoors as sun sets - blue to yellow sky
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You may enjoy yoga for the calming, mind-body benefit. But it can also offer overall strengthening benefits.

“It’s a fantastic way to tone your legs,” says certified yoga instructor Theresa Brennan, who created this sequence of eight poses. “By using your own body weight, you build leg strength. Balancing poses tone the legs and core and improve your balance, too.”

To get started, stand tall in a simple mountain pose (tadasana) and move through each pose as shown. Repeat the entire sequence three times each week to begin developing stronger legs.

warrior yoga pose
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Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior II is a great pose for stretching and lengthening leg muscles.

How to do it: Take a large step back with your right foot. With your left foot pointing forward, turn your right foot close to a 90-degree angle so it aligns with your left heel. Bend your left knee and lift your arms so that they’re parallel to the floor. Turn your head so that you’re gazing forward over your left arm. Hold the pose for several breaths. Return to standing position and repeat on the other side, with your right foot in front.

EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE (UTTHITA PARSVAKONASANA
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Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

Extended side angle pose works to strengthen your thighs and ankles.

How to do it: Take a big step to the right so that your feet are about four feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor, palms facing down. With legs straight, turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and slightly angle your left foot in. Exhale and bend your right knee, keeping it aligned over your right ankle. As you inhale, place your right forearm on your thigh and extend your left arm over your ear, elongating your body. Remain in the pose for five breaths, then switch sides.

yoga GODDESS POSE (UTKATA KONASANA)
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Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)

Goddess pose strengthens the quads and inner thigh muscles.

How to do it: Widen your stance so that your feet are about three feet apart. Turn your toes out so that your feet are at about 45-degree angles, pointing away from each other. Engage your abs and bend your knees, sinking down as far as you comfortably can. Stay centered without leaning forward or back. Bring your palms together and hold your hands at your chest (your heart center), keeping your elbows close to your body. Hold the pose for six breaths. 

WIDE-LEGGED FORWARD FOLD (PRASARITA PADOTTANASANA) yoga
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Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

This calming pose is especially good for stretching tight hamstrings.

How to do it: Widen your stance so that your feet are three to four feet apart. Your feet can be parallel or turned slightly inward. Inhale and lift your chest. On the exhale, bend forward at the hips. As your upper body becomes parallel to the floor, place your hands or fingertips on the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Direct your gaze at the floor in front of you.

Go only as far down as you can with straight legs. It's ok if your hands don't reach the floor. You can also use a block or blocks to reduce the distance between your hands and the floor if you can't reach all the way down. Hold the pose for several breaths.

 

 

TREE POSE (VRKSASANA) yoga
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Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Tree pose improves balance and concentration as it stretches your inner thigh muscles and strengthens your calves, thighs, and foot muscles.

How to do it: Find a spot on the floor or a nearby wall to focus on to help keep you from wobbling. Engage your abs and shift your weight to your right leg. Raise your left foot and place the sole of your left foot on the ankle, calf, or mid-thigh of your right leg with toes pointed downward. (Just be sure not to press your foot into the inside of your knee.) Allow your left knee to comfortably point to the side. Engage your abs so you can stand tall and straight. Raise your arms and hold the pose for several breaths, then switch sides.

eagle pose yoga
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Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

Tone your calves, ankles, and thighs while holding the pose of the eagle.

How to do it: Stand with your feet parallel and about hip-width apart. Pick a focal point and hold your gaze for balance. Bend your legs slightly. Balancing on your right leg, lift your left foot and cross your left thigh over the right. Let your toes reach down and touch the floor, if possible. Stretch your arms in front of you and cross your right arm above the elbow of your left. Bend both elbows, clasping your hands together, with your forearms in front of your chest. Hold the pose for several breaths, then change sides.

WARRIOR III (VIRABHADRASANA III) yoga
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Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)

Warrior III builds lean muscle while giving your hamstrings and outer thighs a good stretch.

How to do it: Step your right foot back into a lunge position. Place your hands on your hips. Exhale and bend forward, standing on your left leg. As you bend, lift your right leg behind you, bringing it as close to parallel with the ground as you can. Shift your gaze straight down to the ground. Leave your hands on your hips or stretch them straight in front of you. Engage your core muscles as you plant your left foot into the floor to maintain your balance. Hold for five to 10 breaths. Come back to a standing position and repeat on the other side. 

yoga SQUAT POSE (MALASANA)
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Squat Pose (Malasana)

You'll probably feel the burn in squat pose. That's because your thighs and quads are working hard to maintain the position.

How to do it: Stand with your feet a little more than hip-distance apart. Turn your toes out, bend your knees, and sink down into a squat as far as you can. Bring the palms of your hands together and hold them at heart center. Place your elbows on the inside of each knee, pressing gently on your knee to help open your hips. If you can’t sink down far enough to put your elbows against your knees, simply hold your hands in prayer position at heart center. If you have any trouble getting into the pose, you can use a block to support you as you ease yourself down. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.

Once you are finished with the routine, lie on your back on the floor and give yourself a rest in final relaxation pose in gratitude for your effort.

 

 

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