It’s nice to mix in Yoga poses for Judo to improve your abilities. Yoga improves flexibility and balance, which complement the fundamental elements of Judo.
I’ve hand-picked some of the best Yoga poses for Judo that will help you advance faster and become an expert Judoka! Have a read.
Table of Contents
Best Yoga poses for Judo training
Below are some of the Yoga poses you can try to help you in your Judo journey.
1. Lizard lunge
Lizard lunge focuses on your hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps. Improving these body parts will help you with your flexibility in performing Judo hip throws and more.
Better hamstrings will allow you to resist leg locks, especially the Ashi garami. Resisting locks will give you extra time to escape or counter the submission.
To make a perfect lizard lunge, go to a plank position. After that, put one of your legs beside your shoulder; it should look like you have a squat on one of your legs.
You can hold on to this position for 8 seconds and switch legs. If you’re having trouble doing this pose, do 4 counts per leg until you get used to it.
2. Thread the needle pose
Thread the needle pose targets the thoracic spine and the overall lower back section. This pose will give you more hip flexibility on throws, pin reversals, and submission defense.
This pose also engages your shoulder and chest muscles. Doing a thread the needle pose will give you overall body flexibility making it suitable for Judo warm-ups.
This pose looks very similar to a head triangle lock. You’ll still do a ‘figure of 4’ with your legs, but you’ll put one of your feet on top of your knee instead of locking it under.
After positioning your foot, reach for your other leg’s shin and pull it towards your face. It’s better to hold the pull for several seconds before letting it go.
Exhale when you let go and inhale during your pull.
3. Downward-facing dog
Downward-facing dog helps you to regulate the blood flow in your body. It’s good to perform this as your main stretching move before starting your Judo drills.
A good blood flow makes your muscles move better and faster. It also makes your brain sharp, allowing you to act quicker and wiser during Judo tournaments or sparring.
Because it improves blood flow, you can make it a cool-down exercise to regulate your blood pressure and heart rate.
Aside from blood flow, this pose focuses on the upper spine and shoulder muscles. These body parts are used to perform the best Judo throws, both in defense and offense.
The downward-facing dog is like a high plank. The only difference is you’ll raise your bum higher and point your head towards the floor with straight arms and legs.
4. Half lord of the fishes pose
Half lord of fishes is a Yoga pose that gives attention to your hips, knee joints, chest, and shoulder muscles. This will help you on your throws to have a better twist.
The body parts that it targets are mainly used in Judo. This makes the half lord pose a must-do before or during Judo training.
To do this pose correctly, you must sit down on the ground and bend your right leg to the left (your right foot must be straight, facing left.)
After bending your right leg, take your left leg and try stepping it over your right leg’s thigh. Do this for 8 counts, then switch legs.
If you’re having trouble, try lowering the count of each leg or do other Yoga poses first.
5. Cow face pose
The cow face pose is excellent for improving the flexibility of your hips, knees, arms, and back. It also deals with your upper body posture.
With the flexibility improvement that it provides, twisting for a hip throw or resisting a lock will be easier. Flexibility also allows you to set up various submissions in unpredictable spots.
To perform a cow face pose, sit down and put one of your legs over your other leg’s thighs. Both of your knee caps must align vertically to do it properly.
After the legs, straighten up your upper body, then use your left hand to reach the middle of your back under your armpit. Do this also with your right hand but over the shoulder this time.
Do two sets of 8 on each side. Be sure to extend your muscles and joints to achieve maximum results.
6. Garland pose
The garland pose is also called the Mālāsana in traditional Yoga culture. It improves hip, knee joint, and ankle flexibility. Some also call this the sumo squat pose.
Aside from flexibility, the garland pose gives you a better overall body balance. Because of this, you’ll be harder to throw to the ground.
To do this pose, perform a wide squat. After that, lower your bum as low as you but do not touch the ground. Be sure not to arch your back while doing these first steps.
After doing a wide squat, put your hands into a prayer position. Your clapped hands should be aligned with your sternum. Lastly, your elbows must touch the bottom part of your knees.
To this pose for 16 counts. If you want to prolong the pose, it’s up to you.
7. Half moon pose
The half moon pose is one of the best Yoga poses if you want to work on balance and flexibility as a Judoka. It targets your shoulders, thighs, buttocks, abs, and ankles.
This pose will improve your throw defense. With better defense, counter throws and grabs will open up for you.
In performing the half moon pose, you must stand only using either of your legs. Next, you need to bend your upper body sideways and align your remaining leg to your upper body.
Your standing leg and your upper body must be perpendicular to each other. After all, stretch one of your arms upward and downward to finish the pose.
Hold the pose for 16 counts to maximize its effect. If you want to do it longer, feel free.
Is Yoga suitable for Judo?
Yoga creates focus for your physical, mental, and spiritual improvement. In terms of physicality, Yoga specializes in improving your flexibility as a Judoka.
Flexibility is a critical factor in many martial arts, especially Judo. It allows you to perform throws and locks easier because you can move your body better.
Better mental and spiritual health will also help you focus on your training. It will allow you to absorb more knowledge from your master’s teachings.
It’s good to incorporate Yoga moves during your warm-ups to prepare your joints and muscles for your training. Doing it on cool-downs is also good.
Do you need flexibility for Judo?
Flexibility is one of the critical factors that will make you a great Judoka. Judo is a martial art specializing in throws, choke holds, and joint locks.
To master Judo throws, specific hip and shoulder twists must be done to execute the move properly. If you’re not flexible enough, you’ll have trouble in progressing.
Flexibility is needed in defending against joint locks and choke holds. If you’re flexible, rolling and scrambling your way to a submission escape is an easy job.
Aside from defending subs and performing throws, flexibility makes you comfy in uncomfortable situations.
You can quickly move your body under a body pin if you’re flexible enough. This makes Judo an excellent martial art for self-defense.