10 Yoga Exercises with Dumbbells
Yoga is an intense exercise. In fact, I have been in some killer shape when I was completing ashtanga yoga practice three to four times a week for 90-120 minutes. But, let's be real... Typically, I just don't have time for that. I want a quick workout that combines yoga and my love for lifting weights. This is why I am sharing ten yoga poses you can do with the added challenge of dumbbells.
These poses are designed to pick up the intensity, working multiple muscles at the same time. It will get you feeling pumped up, motivated, and ready to build some strength.
For the size of the weights, that's totally up to you. If you are newer to weight lifting, start with something small, like two pounds and work your way up. When I am lifting while doing yoga poses, I tend to go lighter than I would normally. This helps to me focus more on my balance, pulling in my belly button, and checking in with my alignment.
Plus, you can get a variety set of dumbbells for less than $30!
I love the extra focus power of adding a little weight to my practice, because it forces me to pay more attention to doing everything safely. I also send more awareness to the muscle groups I am working.
Yoga with Dumbbells
Downward Facing Dog with Shoulder Taps
Start in downward facing dog: From hand and knees, place the knees directly underneath the hips and the feet hip distance apart. Hands should reach out in front of the shoulder with the fingers spread wide and the palms fully pressing into the floor. Lifting the knees off of the floor, reach the tailbone up towards the ceiling and straighten into the legs. Press the heels towards the floor and look up at the belly button, relaxing the tops of the shoulders.
Grab weights: Hold the dumbbells in the hand, or just in front of the hands on the floor. On the exhale, lift the right hands (with dumbbell) up to tap the right shoulder. On the inhale, bring the hand back to the floor. Complete on the left side. Continue the sequence 8-10 times on each side.
High Lunge with Tricep Kickbacks
Start in high lunge: From downward facing dog, step the right foot up in between the hands, making sure that the knee is stacked right over the foot. Staying on your left toes, press into the left heel to straighten and strengthen the back leg. Center your hips forward by pressing your left hip towards the front of the mat. Lift the chest forward and pull the shoulder blades back.
Grab weights: Place dumbbells into each hands, holding directly in front of the chest, elbows hugging in. Keeping the elbows tucked in to the sides, exhale and extend the hands directly back behind you. Inhale, bring the dumbbells back in front of the chest. Keep the elbows locked in, the back long, and the chest open. Repeat 8-10 times, switch sides.
Warrior I with Rows
Start in Warrior I: From downward facing dog, step the right foot up in between the hands, making sure that the knee is stacked right over the foot. Step the left foot slightly out to the side and angle the foot at a 45 degree angle to the front of the mat. Center your hips forward by pressing your left hip towards the front of the mat.
Grab weights: Place a dumbbell in each hand, one on each side of the knee. Hinge at the waist to hover over the knee. On the exhale, bend your left elbow, keeping it tucked into the side, and pull the elbow back as far as comfortable. On the inhale, lower back the dumbbell back towards the floor. Repeat 8-10 times and complete on the other side, with the left leg forward.
Warrior II with Arnold Press
Warrior II - From standing, step or jump your left foot back, about 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Reach both arms out to the side, actively reaching through the fingers with the palms facing downward. Turn the right foot towards the front of the mat and angle the left foot at ninety degrees. Bending into your right leg, try and get the thigh to be parallel with the ground and the knee directly stacked on top of the ankle. The left leg will remain straight and strong. Continuing to reach through the fingertips, pull the shoulder blades back and lift into the chest, gazing at your right fingertips. The torso should be stacked directly above the hips, not reaching forwards or backwards.
Grab weights: Place a dumbbell in each hand and hold them directly over the shoulders without locking the elbows. On the exhale, bend both elbows, dropping them in line with the shoulders and directly out to the side (cactus arms). Inhale, squeeze the elbows in front of the chest without dropping the elbows lower than shoulder level, inner palms facing each other. Exhale, return to cactus arms. Inhale, return to hands over shoulders. Repeat 8-10 times, switch sides.
Warrior III with Single Leg Deadlift
Warrior III - From high lunge with the right foot in front, bring both hands to heart center to find stability. Step the back foot closer to the front as you bring the weight of the body into the right foot. As you start to straighten into the right leg, press the left leg back behind you, lifting the toes off of the ground and pressing the top of the head forward. Aim to straighten fully into both legs fully, creating the shape of a “T” with the body. Keep the left hip dropped in line with the right hip and press into the heel for stability.
Grab weights: Or not! Feel free to skip the weights on this one if you are feeling unbalanced. Bring weights into both hands, keeping the hands downs towards the floor. On an inhale, slowly draw the left knee up towards the chest as you come to standing. On the exhale, extend back to Warrior III while lowering the hands towards the floor. Repeat 6-10 times and complete on the other side.
Goddess Pose with Bicep Curls
Start in goddess pose: From standing, turn to face the long edge of your yoga mat and step or hop your feet wide and parallel, about 3 feet apart. Turn your toes out and your heels in, creating a 45 degree angle with each foot.On an exhale, take a deep bend in your knees, moving toward bringing your thighs parallel to the ground and your hips in line with your knees. The knees have a tendency to bow inwards as they bend, so ensure that your knees remain stacked directly over your ankles.
Grab weights: Place a dumbbell in each hand and bring the arms out to your sides, elbows slightly bent. On the exhale, curl the dumbbells up towards the shoulders, trying not to move the elbows with you. On the inhale, lower the dumbbells back down to the sides. Repeat 8-10 times.
Side Plank with Flies
Start in side plank: From Downward Facing Dog, shift onto the outside edge of your left foot, and stack your right foot on top of the left. Now swing your right hand onto your right hip, turn your torso to the right as you do, and support the weight of your body on the outer left foot and left hand. Try and make a straight line with the body by not allowing the hips to drop.
Grab weights: Grab a weight in your free hand only, lifting the hand towards the ceiling, staked over the shoulder. On the exhale, lower the weight towards the floor without coming all the way down. On the inhale, bring back over the shoulder. Keep a micro bend in the elbow throughout this exercise. Repeat 8-10 times and repeat on the other side.
Bridge Pose with Chest Press
Start in bridge pose: Lying on your back, bend the knees and place the feet on the floor, close to the tailbone and about hip distance apart. Place the hands palms down on both sides of the hips. On an exhale, lift the hips and the buttock up towards the ceiling. Try to keep the thighs parallel to the floor and roll the shoulder blades underneath.
Grab weights: Place a dumbbell in each hand and bring the dumbbells to your chest, with the elbows out to the side. On an inhale, press the dumbbells into the air, keeping the hands just above the chest. Exhale to bring the elbows back to the floor. Repeat 8-10 times.
Tabletop Donkey Kicks
Start in tabletop: Come to your hands and knees, placing the hands directly underneath your shoulders and the knees directly underneath the hips. Flatten the back by slightly tucking the pelvis and bring your gaze to the ground below your head.
Grab weights: Place one dumbbell behind the knee, making sure to have a firm grip on the weight. On an inhale, lift the knee behind you, as high as you can. Exhale to lower the knee back to the floor. Repeat 10-12 times.
Baby Boat Extension
Start in baby boat: Begin with from a seated position with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping the back straight, lean back slightly while lifting the feet to bring the shins parallel with the floor, and reach the arms forward towards the legs. Lift through the chest, squeezing the shoulder blades together, and balance on the tailbone.
Grab weights: Place a dumbbell between your feet and another in your hands, in front of the chest. On the inhale, extend the legs out as straight as possible and lift the hands overhead. On the exhale, bring the knees back in and the dumbbells into your chest, back to baby boat. Repeat 6-8 times.
Ready to work up a sweat? I would love to hear what you think of these exercises.
Would you like to see more postures you can do with weights? Be sure to comment below so I can share more! I am always happy to answer any questions.
Cheers to you and your hard work!