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What exercises build strength and flexibility?

Kristin M. McGee
Yoga Expert
Certain yoga postures such as standing warriors: warrior 1, 2 and 3 as well as chaturanga (low tricep yogi push-up), upward-facing dog and downward facing dog all build strength and flexibility at the same time. 
JC Pinzon
Fitness

Pilates is the best way to incorporate strength and flexibility. Mat Pilates or Reformer Pilates are designed to increase both at the same time. Floor exercises such as Pilates pushups will strengthen your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core and stretch your hamstrings and calves mostly. The Pilates rollups will get your core strong and stretch your back and hamstrings. On the reformer there are so many exercises that will stretch and get your muscles strong at the same time, it is not a coincidence that nowadays many athletes are turning to Pilates to improve their performance. If you need to see the exercises look it up in the internet to have a better idea. Just remember that all exercises have to follow a grade of difficulty and should be gradually progressed from easy to difficult based on your abilities and skills when it comes to movement. Good luck!

  1. Prisoner Squats
  2. Multiplaner lunge
  3. Single-Leg Squat
  4. Medicine Ball Chop and Lift
  5. Back Extension
  6. Ball Medicine Ball Pullover Throw
  7. Lunge to Two-Arm Dumbbell Press
  8. Squat Two-Arm Press

Yoga and Pilates classes also build strength and flexibility.

 

Just about all styles of yoga build strength and flexibility. However, you can focus on forms of Eastern exercise that incorporate stretching, holding poses, and gently exerting yourself for extra power.

Get it done with . . .

Iyengar yoga: Yoga is a discipline that connects the mind, body, and spirit by requiring you to move through different physical postures while meditating and focusing on breath work. There are many styles of yoga. With Iyengar yoga, you hold your postures for a longer period of time compared to other yoga styles, which increases the strength demands required to complete an Iyengar series. Start with a beginner class.

T'ai Chi: T'ai chi is a meditative exercise that requires you to pay close attention to your breathing while completing a series of choreographed, slow, fluid, and continuous dance-like movements. It is a gentle physical exercise that is easy on the joints.

Chi-gong (Qigong): Chi-gong is an exercise that focuses on breath work, while incorporating meditation and very gentle, slow physical movements. The focus is on breathing naturally, moving easily, and imagining energy traveling through your body.

Health Benefits: Multiple studies have revealed the ability of yoga to increase flexibility and strength. Being strong and flexible has a host of beneficial effects on your overall health, including helping to maintain your energy levels, improving your ability to accomplish daily tasks, and reducing your risk of injury. Strength and flexibility are vital for balance and minimizing falls. T'ai chi also is used to improve balance and strength, and is particularly effective for older people with strength and flexibility issues. However, t'ai chi may benefit the health of both young and middle-aged participants. And the moderately intense aerobic element of this exercise has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure.

Chi-gong offers similar health benefits to t'ai chi. T'ai chi may offer a slightly better training effect than chi-gong because it's slightly more intense. However, if you prefer the gentler chi-gong, it also has been credited with improving strength and flexibility and reducing blood pressure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.