How To Do Warrior 3

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chloe Freytag demonstrating Warrior 3 in a blue tank top and blue yoga pants

Warrior 3 is a balance pose that strengthens the legs and core and promotes good spinal alignment and balance. Balance poses can be challenging in yoga, but Warrior 3 is one that most people can learn quickly and practice on a regular basis. If you want to strengthen your lower body while working on better balance, you should learn how to do Warrior 3.

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. Warrior 3 is an excellent example of this. Once you get set in the pose and are holding yourself long and straight while balancing on one leg, let your inner-warrior come through by practicing a steady breath and fighting- in a gentle way- for stability and balance. Your legs will get stronger and your core will be more engaged.

Warrior 3 pose is a great pose to practice on its own, or in a series with the other Warrior poses. Moving from Warrior 1 to Warrior 2 and then Warrior 3 is a common flow.

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    How To Do Warrior 3

    Here are the steps to performing Warrior 3:

    1) Engage abs and lengthen spine as you reach your arms toward the front of the room and begin lifting your left leg behind you.

    2) Continue reaching arms forward and left leg back until your body is parallel to the floor and eyes are gazing at the front of your mat. Keep abs tight!

    3) Relax neck and shoulder and breathe gently in and out. Hold 30 seconds and switch legs.

    [adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”vp62qU12″ upload-date=”2019-02-24T20:27:57.000Z” name=”How To Do Warrior 3″ description=”1) Engage abs and lengthen spine as you reach your arms toward the front of the room and begin lifting your left leg behind you.

    2) Continue reaching arms forward and left leg back until your body is parallel to the floor and eyes are gazing at the front of your mat. Keep abs tight!

    3) Relax neck and shoulder and breathe gently in and out. Hold 30 seconds and switch legs.”]

    What Muscles Does Warrior 3 Work?

    Warrior 3 strengthens the whole backside of the body, including the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, ankles, and back. Warrior 3 is a balance pose that also uses core strength to keep you stable.

    Benefits of Warrior 3

    There are many reasons you should incorporate warrior 3 into your workouts. Here are just a few:

    Strengthens The Back of The Body

    Holding the warrior 3 pose helps to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings, which are used to hold your leg up, the shoulders as they hold your arms out, and the muscles of the standing leg while you keep your weight in that particular leg.

    Strengthens The Core

    Warrior 3 is all about balance and stabilization. To keep your balance you must pull in your core and keep your abdominals tight. The more you pull the core muscles in, the more stable and balanced you will be. Balance training is an important element of fitness that is often left out of typical workouts, but very important to the body, especially as we age.

    Improves Posture

    Warrior 3 promotes good posture and spinal alignment by teaching your body to stay in a straight line. By drawing you abdominals in and reaching as far as you can with both your hands and your back toes, you practice alignment and memorize what good posture should be.

    How Many Calories Does Warrior 3 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 warrior 3 are not necessarily reflected in the calorie burn, however, a good yoga practice can be a great way to include warrior 3 and still burn the calories desired.

    Other Exercises Similar to Warrior 3

    If you like warrior 3 and the results you get from it, here are a few more exercises you might want to try.

    How To Do Boat Pose

    How To Do Hand To Big Toe Hold

    How To Do Balancing Half Moon

    Incorporating Warrior 3 Into Your Workouts

    Warrior 3 is a great pose to practice any time on its own. However, you could also incorporate warrior 3 into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

    Use Warrior 3 in a Balancing Workout

    Balance is an element of fitness that we do not pay enough attention to. Having good balance gives you better body awareness and helps prevent injury. Balance, however, doesn’t come naturally. It must be practiced. Warrior 3 is used in this balance workout so give it a try!

    Get in Balance

    Each of the following poses will challenge your balance in a different way. Some practice leg balance, some challenge upper body balance, and some use core strength to balance everything. Hold each pose for as long as you can – up to one minute. If you are new to balancing, don’t be afraid to start with 5 or 10 seconds and build each time. If you tip over, try again!

    Tree Pose With Branches: Tree pose is a basic, simple balance pose. This is a leg balance pose that can be either very simple by just lifting one foot slightly and keeping your arms down, or very difficult by pulling your foot inside your thigh and reaching your arms like tree pose with branches. Try a variety of ways to balance on one leg.

    Crow Pose: Crow pose is a challenging arm balance that uses a ton of core strength as well. If you find it too difficult, try tripod first, then work your way up to lifting your head and finding crow.

    Warrior 3: Leg balance, arm strength, posture, core strength. Just try it! If it is too challenging at first, reach your arms out sideways instead for more help with balance.

    Boat Pose: Boat pose challenges the core strength as you hold your arms and legs up. Be sure to keep your abs pulled in tight to protect your lower back. If your hamstrings are too tight, just bend your knees slightly.

    Side Plank Pose with Leg Lift: Make sure you get both sides in. This pose is a great way to practice balance close to the ground so falling doesn’t sting quite as much. In addition, the core work – especially for your obliques – is amazing!

    Balancing Half Moon: Balancing half moon is another leg strength pose that involves your core strength as well. This is also an excellent pose to promote good posture. As a beginner in this pose you can place a block or something with height below your hand to help you align your spine better.

    Use Warrior 3 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 3 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 Flow

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

    Downward Dog – Plank – ChaturangaUpward Dog – (repeat series 5 times)

    Crescent Lunge Right- Warrior 2 – Warrior 3

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

    Crescent Lunge Left – Warrior 2 – 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 3 in a Mind-Body Practice

    One thing we know about yoga is that it challenges both the body AND the mind. Warrior 3 is included in this next yoga practice designed to get your mind to focus and challenge you to stay in the present.

    Yoga To Challenge 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.
















    Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate warrior 3:

    8 Challenging Yoga Poses for Core Strength

    6 Minute Yoga For Better Abs

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