Yoga Sculpt: How to Prepare for This High Intensity Workout

Nadia Santiago
Woman doing yoga sculpt

Yoga sculpt is a class designed by yoga studios and fitness centers to provide a workout that combines strength and cardio exercises with a traditional asana practice to give you a full body workout. Yogis at all levels can benefit from the bigger calorie burn as well as the opportunity to build strength and challenge yourself physically. Prepare yourself for this high intensity format by practicing moves that are included in the workouts and adding cross-training to your routine.

Improve Your Normal Yoga Practice

In yoga sculpt, you hold certain yoga poses for long periods either on their own or while performing other strength exercises. Poses in yoga sculpt might include things like Warrior I, II, and III, downward dog with pushups, or the goddess pose with a squat, all held longer with weights, and these poses are interspersed with bursts of cardio. Therefore, proper form in poses is essential.

  • Before you start with yoga sculpt, work on developing proper form in all your yoga poses.
  • Hold them for longer periods to increase your strength endurance.
  • Practice them at home or attend more traditional yoga classes.
  • Although flow sessions move through the asanas at a fast-pace, power or alignment-based classes may slow them down, giving you more time to correct your technique.

Doing this will help you feel successful and remain injury free when you complete them during yoga sculpt.

Start Strength Training

During a typical yoga sculpt class, you will work every muscle in your body. Add focused strength training to your routine at least twice a week to give yourself a leg up before you attend your first class. Weight lifting should target muscles that are specifically used during your sculpt session.

  • Activate your chest by performing pushups, chest press, and the chest fly.
  • Work your glutes with weighted glute bridges (also known as busters), squats, and donkey kicks.
  • Firm your thighs by completing leg presses, front/reverse lunges, side lunges, and sumo squats.
  • Strengthen your shoulders by adding the lateral raise, front raise, and upright row.
  • Hit your abdominals with front to side planks, crunches, and stability ball rollouts.
  • Directly work your hamstrings by doing deadlifts and hamstring curls.

Choose a sampling of one or two exercises for each muscle group during your strength workouts. Complete three rounds or 8 to 12 repetitions or 45 seconds for each exercise.

Add Cardio to Your Routine

Yoga sculpt classes resemble high intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuit-style workouts in that they include a mix of cardio and strength while moving quickly from one exercise to the next with little break in between. This can be taxing for those who aren't used to working out in ways that challenge their cardiovascular fitness. Ease yourself into this style by improving your aerobic endurance.

  • Add cardio training to your routine two times per week.
  • Start with 15 minutes of steady-state or interval style exercise per session and work your way up.

You can also attend a cardio kickboxing or dance fitness class, such as Zumba, at your local gym.

Fuel Your Body Properly

Proper nutrition habits are a key part of completing intense sweat sessions with plenty of energy.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water in the days and even weeks leading up to your first yoga sculpt session. It's an important way to boost your energy and make sure your muscles are pliable.
  • Eat a nutritious diet filled with fruits and vegetables. The nutrients will fortify your muscles so that you feel strong during your workout and recover faster afterward.
  • Time your meals and snacks so you don't burn out. Pre-workout meals should be eaten at least two hours before your session. They are usually a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to provide a balance of nutrient to fuel your muscles and keep you feeling satisfied until your next meal.

Sculpt With an Open Mind

Not only do yoga sculpt routines vary drastically from vinyasa yoga and other popular styles, but each session may be different depending on the studio you go to or the instructor leading the class. Whether you're attending for the first time or the 50th, it's important to remember the purpose of the class, which is to challenge your body and your mind differently. You can benefit more fully by preparing yourself through a combination of strength training, cardio exercise, proper nutrition habits, and a consistent mindfulness practice.

Yoga Sculpt: How to Prepare for This High Intensity Workout