Practicing yoga can help you build upper body strength—from your core all the way to your arms and shoulders. Below are 4 yoga poses to strengthen and tone your arms.
1. Forearm Plank
Place your forearms down onto the mat. You can interlace your fingers, ball up your hands into fists, or press your palms down onto the mat. Stack your shoulders over your elbows. Then, straighten one leg back behind you followed by the other.
Squeeze your inner thighs and glutes, and brace your core. Forearm plank is a great core strengthener, but it so helps you build upper body strength. Push your forearms down and engage your upper back. Stabilize the shoulders by slightly protracting the scapula.
Stay here for 5 to 10 breaths, or up to 30 seconds. Don’t forget to keep your hips low and keep hugging the belly in. Breathe!
2. Side Plank
From a high plank, swivel over to the outer edge of your right ankle. Grip the ground with your right hand, as if you were digging for dirt. Stack your shoulder above your wrist, and actively push down with your arm. Then, stack your left leg over your right leg.
Push the hips up to the sky, but face both hip points towards the wall in front of you. Engage your obliques and pull the navel in. Lengthen the spine, including your neck.
Stay here for 5 to 10 breaths, or up to 30 seconds before switching sides. Side Plank works your hips, obliques, lats, arms, and shoulders!
3. Reverse Table Top
Want to work your triceps? Try Reverse Table Top—which works the backs of your arms, shoulders, and the muscles around your spine.
Sit down on your mat, with your feet pressing down. Bring your hands back behind you, with your fingers facing forward or slightly off to the side.
Breathe in. Then, when you breathe out, lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Push down with your feet, lengthen your tailbone forward, and keep your spine long. Engage your glutes to help protect your lower back.
Actively push with your hands, and keep a micro-bend in your elbows. Hold here for a few breaths, feeling the burn in your triceps and the backs of your shoulders. You can even elevate your hands on blocks, for an added challenge!
4. Dolphin Pose
Just like forearm plank, Dolphin helps work the forearms, chest, and shoulders—but it also makes a great pose to help release the upper back.
From your forearm plank, walk the feet forward until your hips lift all the way up to the sky. You can keep the knees slightly bent to maintain the length in your spine. Push your tailbone up, and draw the navel in towards your spine.
Press the forearms down and roll the shoulders away from the ears. Feel your chest muscles work. Dolphin makes a great preparatory pose for challenging shoulder-intensive inversions like Headstand.
Stay here for five to ten breaths, before releasing and letting go. Do these yoga poses to strengthen and tone the arms, and you’ll have a stronger upper body in no time!