How to Tone Your Arms With Yoga Alone

Uneven plank builds strength and tightens your shoulders, triceps, biceps and forearms. Because your arms are asymmetrical during this flow, and you’re moving slowly while staying properly aligned, you work your arm muscles thoroughly. Because you are weight-bearing while adjusting to lift up and back down on either arm, the pose fatigues your arms quickly and helps build definition.

Come into a high-plank position with your wrists under your shoulders and straight across your mat. Keep your feet vertical and maintain a plank shape in your hips and back. Once you’re in plank, move your right hand 10 inches forward and gently lower your forearm to the floor. Align your right elbow with your left wrist. Widen your left elbow just enough to keep the head of your arm bone plugged into its shoulder socket. Hold for three breaths and switch sides. Move slowly and do not let your hips hammock. Repeat this movement until failure.

To tone your arms effectively, you have to push yourself to the edge of failure every time you do an arm exercise. Take a basic exercise like a pushup and slow it down with your breath. Your arms are engaged throughout the entire exercise, which will help push your arm muscles to the point of exhaustion and give your triceps a steady burn.

Get into a pushup position. Take a full breath in and slowly exhale as you bend your elbows for three seconds down. Don’t lower yourself so far that you can’t maintain strength in your shoulders or keep your hips lifted in a plank. As you descend, bend your elbows far enough away from your ribs to keep your shoulders from slouching. Then, inhale to come back up slowly for a three-second count. Repeat until you can no longer maintain good form.

Sit with your hips against the wall and your legs extended out straight. Make note of where your heels meet the floor. Come to your hands and knees with the base of your hands in line with where your heels were. Align your wrists under your shoulders and straight across. Lift your hips for a short down dog by the wall. Bend your knees as much as you need to in order to create a lift in your low back. Then, take one big step up the wall. If you can maintain straight arms and lifted hips, step your other foot up the wall to meet it. Walk your feet down until your heels are in line with your hips and your body makes an L-shape. Bend your knees to release your back. As much as you feel release, stretch your legs straight. Hold this pose for 10 breaths with straight arms.

This pose is one of the best ways to exercise your shoulders and triceps in the side plane of your body. You steady yourself on one hand, which will build subtle muscles in your arms that you miss in front-plane positions like plank.

From plank, walk your feet and legs to touch. Look at your right hand. Turn it a quarter-inch to the right. Rotate onto your right hand and the right side of foot. Stack your feet, flare your toes to engage your legs, lift your hips and reach your left arm straight up toward the ceiling with your wrist in line with your shoulder. Look up toward your left hand and line up your ears with your shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the second side. Complete this for three sets on both sides.

Yoga has very few movements that build your quick-twitch muscles. Shoulder taps, however, do just that and are easy to put into any yoga sequence. They strengthen your arms, shoulders and chest. Adding shoulder taps to your routine is a nice way to mix up your stagnant movements and target your biceps, which get neglected in other yoga exercises.


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