Yoga Poses for Strong, Sculpted Arms

Growing up, I was always so self conscious about wearing tank tops or anything that revealed my flabby arms. I was always enviously of the field hockey players for having sculpted arms, and never in a million years thought I would consider my lanky self strong. 

I sought out yoga for its mental benefits, but was pleasantly surprised to see the changes that were happening in my body. I felt strong, I could do real push-ups, and most importantly, I stopped caring about what my arms looked like. 

Below are some simple but effective yoga poses that are great for building strength in the arm and shoulder area, try it out and prepare to say adios to flabby arms forever. 

1. Downward Dog


One of the most recognisable poses, down-dog is a great strengthening pose when done correctly. Spread your fingers wide and ensure your hands are shoulder distance apart, activate your arms as you press down through your wrists. Engage the lower belly by drawing the navel in, and send the tailbone up towards the sky. The focus should be on extending the spine, and remember to bend your legs if your hammy’s are feeling tight. 

Stay in this pose for at least 10 breaths, peddle your knees to warm your body up. 

2. Plank


Yes I know we all dread this pose - but there’s a reason why it’s one of the most universal poses in the fitness world. When doing a plank, you arms should be perpendicular to the floor and the shoulders are directly over the wrists. Bring awareness to your upper body, round your upper back slightness and spread your shoulder blades apart. 

Tip: Keep your core engaged, you’ll feel much easier on your wrists!

I try to stay in this pose for at least 1 minute or will hold for up to ten breaths in a sun salutation sequence. 

3. Chaturanga


I was so intimidated by this yoga pushup when I first started practicing, but now I absolutely love it. As you exhale, slowly lower your body and legs to a few inches above and parallel to the floor. Avoid sticking your bum out or letting your shoulders or belly collapse. 

Stay in this pose for 3-4 breaths before lowering your torso to the ground. 

4. Upward Dog


Another classic pose - remember to lift your torso and your legs a few inches off the floor. Keep opening your chest, drawing your shoulder blades toward one another, with shoulders relaxed and away from the ears. 

Stay in this pose for 10 breaths. 

5. Side Plank


This pose is such a powerful arm balance, strengthening and also increasing flexibility in your wrists, forearms, shoulders and spine. From a high plank pose, step your feet together and press your weight down through your right hand and forearm. Try to keep hips lifted as high as possible. One modification is to lower your right knee and shin to the mat. Repeat on the other side. 

Stay in this pose for 5-6 breaths before moving back into a plank. 

6. Dolphin Pose


The dolphin pose is often taught as a preparation for arm balances; it requires total activation in your arms, shoulders and spine. From down-dog, bring your hand, elbows, and forearms to the ground in front of your knees, shoulder width apart. Spread your fingers for balance and as you exhale, lift your tailbones just as you would in downward dog. 

Stay in this pose for 3-4 breaths.

Audrey Sze