How To Do Warrior 2

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chloe Freytag demonstrating Warrior 2 in a blue tank top and blue yoga pants

Warrior 2 is a standing pose that opens the hips and strengthens your legs. Warrior 2 pose also promotes good posture and spinal alignment along with core strength. Warrior 2 extends the arms out and encourages you to relax the shoulders and keep the neck soft, while also promoting strong shoulders and arms. If you are looking for overall body strength and flexibility you should learn how to do Warrior 2.

The Warrior Poses are a staple in yoga. At first it seems odd to name yoga poses after fighters since yogi’s are seen as passive and peaceful. However, these poses are meant to acknowledge a “spiritual warrior” or one who is fighting against the evil inside ourselves. Think of it as you fight to maintain a position when it becomes uncomfortable or become a warrior when your leg starts to shake because the muscle is so tired. The Warrior 2 pose shows strength and power in a positive way, all the while stretching the hips and opening the chest and shoulders. The pose is designed to use your core to keep your spine tall. The arms reach out long to the side, but you are reminded to keep your shoulders soft and relaxed and to reach your energy out to the end of your fingertips. In order to keep your spine tall and have good posture core strength must be used in addition to the strength of the lower body.

Warrior 2 might seem like an easy pose at first, but the lower you sink your front knee the more challenging it will be but the deeper the stretch you will find! Be sure to breathe.

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    How To Do Warrior 2

    Here are the steps to performing Warrior 2:

    1) From a standing position, step your left foot to the back of your mat and lower the inside of your foot so that your back foot is at an angle.

    2) Bend your right knee 90 degrees and straighten your back leg.

    3) Reach right arm straight over right leg and left arm straight over left leg.

    4) Relax shoulders and breathe gently in and out. Hold 30 seconds and switch sides.

    [adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”XHuzN6hb” upload-date=”2019-02-24T20:24:48.000Z” name=”How To Do Warrior 2″ description=”1) From a standing position, step your left foot to the back of your mat and lower the inside of your foot so that your back foot is at an angle.

    2) Bend your right knee 90 degrees and straighten your back leg.

    3) Reach right arm straight over right leg and left arm straight over left leg.

    4) Relax shoulders and breathe gently in and out. Hold 30 seconds and switch sides.”]

    What Muscles Does Warrior 2 Work?

    Warrior 2 is a standing yoga pose that opens the front of the hips, groin and shoulders. If you learn how to do warrior 2 you will strengthen and build stamina in your legs and improve core strength and stability.

    Benefits of Warrior 2

    There are many reasons you should incorporate warrior 2 into your workouts. Here are just a few:

    Stretches and Opens The Front of The Hips

    Warrior 2 stretches the muscles in your groin and hips flexors, areas known to be tight is many people. Whether you sit all day or do too much movement, the hip flexors seem to get tight and irritated. If you learn how to do warrior 2, you learn a great hip stretch!

    Build Stronger Legs

    Warrior 2 is a pose that strengthens your thighs, hips and butt while also working your stabilizers. Warrior 2 is an isometric exercise, meaning your hold still. However, even though you don’t move, you can feel your muscles engage and work to get stronger. Bending the front knee in warrior 2 challenges your quads and glutes. The longer you hold warrior 2, the more your legs will shake!

    Improves Posture

    Warrior 2 also promotes good posture and spinal alignment. This pose encourages you to align your shoulders directly above your hips and pull your core muscles in for proper posture. The more time you spend in warrior 2, the more practice you get at using good posture and the more likely you are to use good posture in real life.

    How Many Calories Does Warrior 2 Burn?

    People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working at higher intensity. Bottom line – the harder you work, the more calories you burn. The benefits of the warrior 2 are not reflected in the calorie burn, however, a good yoga practice can be a great way to include warrior 2 and still burn the calories desired. So get your yoga on!

    Other Exercises Similar to Warrior 2

    If you like the warrior 2 and the results you get from it, here are a few more exercises you might want to try.

    How To Do Crescent Lunge

    How To Do Extended Side Angle

    How To Do Warrior 3

    Incorporating Warrior 2 Into Your Workouts

    Warrior 2 is a great pose to practice any time on its own. However, you could also incorporate warrior 2 into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

    Use Warrior 2 in a Post-Workout Stretch

    It only takes a few good stretches after a tough workout to get you opened up, release your muscles and prepare you to move again in the future. Warrior 2 is a perfect pose to include in your next stretch routine like this one:

    Stretch it Out! Hold each of the following stretches for at least 30 seconds, but up to 60 seconds if you can. Continue to relax and breathe as you hold.

    Downward Dog– Open up the entire backside of your body with downward dog pose. Hold for 60 seconds if you can.

    Crescent Lunge – (Right leg front.) Hold 30 seconds then move to warrior 2.

    Warrior 2 – (Right leg front.) Hold 30 seconds then move to extended side angle

    Extended Side Angle – (Right leg front)

    Repeat all of these but do them with left leg in front.

    Lord of Half Fishes – If it is time for a piriformis and outer hip stretch, this one does the trick. Hold for at least 30 seconds per side.

    Butterfly Pose– Hip flexors and groin beware! You are about to be stretched. Big time! Hold at least 60 seconds and keep good posture as you breathe.

    Bridge with Chest Expansion– Finish with a stretch for the chest, front of the shoulders, hips and entire body!

    Use Warrior 2 In Your Yoga Practice

    Yoga is a fantastic workout not only for your flexibility, but also for your overall strength and stability. Incorporating the warrior 2 into your yoga practice opens the front of the hips and strengthens the legs. Try this short yoga series designed to strengthen your legs at home:

    Yoga For Leg Strength

    Cat-Cow- (5 repetitions for warm-up)

    Downward Dog – Plank – Chaturanga – Upward Dog – (repeat series 5 times)

    Warrior 1 Right – Warrior 2 – Reverse Warrior – Warrior 3

    Downward Dog – Plank – Chaturanga – Upward Dog –Downward Dog

    Warrior 1 Left – Warrior 2 – Reverse Warrior – Warrior 3

    Downward Dog – Plank – Chaturanga – Upward Dog –Downward Dog

    Chair Pose– Hold 1 minute

    Eagle Pose – Hold 1 minute per side

    Pigeon Pose – Hold 30 seconds per side.

    Child’s Pose – Hold as long as you like.

    Use Warrior 2 In a Calming Yoga Practice

    Yoga is known for improving flexibility and adding strength, but it is also well-known for releasing stress. Holding poses and focusing on your breath is an effective way to bring your heart rate and blood pressure down and allow you to relax. Try warrior 2 in this yoga to calm the mind practice.

    Yoga To Calm The Mind: The key to effectiveness in this practice is to hold each pose for at LEAST 5 slow, deep breaths. In addition, practice keeping your attention focused on your breathing and your body. Do your best to keep your mind from wandering back to your busy life.

    Hold each of the following poses for at least 5 slow breaths, then transition directly to the next pose. Remember, this is not a flow. This is a slow, gentle yoga.


















    Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate warrior 2:

    12 Yoga Poses To Reduce Back Pain

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