Warrior II: Proper Alignment and Treatment Ideas | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Warrior II: Proper Alignment and Treatment Ideas


All too often this comical depiction is accurate. We (or our patients) spend our time wondering if we are doing an exercise correctly. 

Warrior II can be a powerful tool for physical therapists. Here are some ways I’ve used it in my practice:
  • Strength and balance training during prehab for a total knee replacement
  • Quad strengthening after cast removal
  • Motor control and balance training by transitioning in/out of the pose
  • Muscular activation of hip rotators 
  • ROM for hip adductors and hip flexors 
  • Motor control of pelvic and low back alignment 
  • Facilitation of shoulder scapula stabilization and postural alignment
  • Neural mobilization of UEs 
In order to achieve the full benefits, you need to perform Warrior II with proper alignment and regard for the body’s anatomical alignment. Here’s how you achieve the proper Warrior II pose:
From standing at the top of a yoga mat, perform a mini squat (chair pose) and then lunge your left foot back 3-5 feet. Your right foot should be pointing straight ahead with your left foot parallel to the back of the mat and turned inward slightly. Hips should be open completely, facing the side of the mat. Arms should be abducted to 90 degrees with elbow creases turned up to the ceiling and palms facing down. Your gaze should follow your front fingertips. 

Check your alignment:
  • Place your hands on your ASIS. Are you hips completely facing the side of the mat? If your hips are tight (like mine) you may need to turn your front foot inward (as opposed to facing the front of the mat) until your hips can completely turn to the side. This way you get a true stretch of your inner thigh. Here's an example of a Warrior II WITHOUT hips properly aligned: 
Image Credit (my annotations)
  • Check your low back. Are you maintaining a neutral spine and lumbar lordosis? What are you shoulders doing? Are they elevated? 
  • Are your scapulas set against your back? Can you keep the crease of your elbow facing the ceiling and then turn your palms down? (If not you may be feeling some neural tension) 
To exit the pose, lift your back leg, shift your weight forward, and return to a mini squat (chair). Then stand up. 

By performing Warrior II with the appropriate body mechanics, you will see better results and improve your ROM, strength, motor control, and balance.  

Header Image Credit
Reference: Garner, G. 2001. Professional Yoga Therapy, Volume I. Professional Yoga Therapy Institute, Living Well, US.

About the author:
Christine Walker is a Physical Therapist and Professional Yoga Therapist through the Professional Yoga Therapy Institute. She has her own cash-based PT practice in Charlotte, NC working with gymnasts, athletes, and active adults. To learn more visit her website or connect with her on Twitter.


Interested in live cases where I apply this approach and integrate it with pain science, manual therapy, repeated motions, IASTM, with emphasis on patient education? Check out Modern Manual Therapy!

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