If you want to tone and strengthen your arms, you may want to consider adding yoga to your exercise routine. This meditative exercise is great for toning your body, and specifically great for toning your arms. Yoga requires you to support your own body weight in different poses. In particular, many poses rely on the strength of your arms and shoulders to do successfully. Many poses that do require arm strength rely on a variety of your arm and shoulder muscles, making yoga a great exercise to tone your entire arm.
Part One of Three:
Using Specific Yoga Poses to Tone Your Arms
1Ease into downward dog. One of the most common poses in yoga routines is downward dog. This is a great exercise to tone your arms. It requires you to keep your arms and shoulders firm and strong and overtime gives your arms great definition.
- Start this position by getting onto all fours on your yoga mat or the carpet. Plant your palms firmly on the ground and tuck your toes under so you push your butt up into the air.
- Your body should be in an upside down "V" shape for downward dog. Try to straighten your legs and push your heels as close to the ground as possible.
- Push through your palms and move your shoulders up and away from your ears. Hold this pose for a few deep breaths and then move onto your next yoga pose.
2Move into plank pose. Although plank pose is commonly used as a core strengthening exercise, it's also a great pose to tone and strengthen your arms. In addition, this also targets your shoulders.
- To start plank pose, get down on all fours on your yoga mat or on carpet. Extend your legs backwards and push yourself up onto your palms so your arms are fully extended and straight.
- Your body should form a straight line. Try not to stick your butt in the air. Also avoid dropping your hips.
- Keep your arms firm and strong. Take a few deep breaths here and then release this pose.
3Try chaturanga. Another great pose to help strengthen your arms is chaturanga. This is a challenging pose, but is great specifically to tone the backs of your arms and shoulders.
- Start this pose by getting into a push-up position. Position your palms so they are flat on the floor next to your waist.
- Your upper arms should be flushed with the sides of your torso. Your elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle.
- Try to keep your body completely parallel to the floor. Your hips and lower back should be straight in line with your legs and shoulders.
- Hold this pose for a few deep breaths. You can move into cobra or downward dog after this pose.
4Get into an L-handstand. Handstands can be a difficult yoga pose to do. However, they're great at strengthening an toning your entire arm and shoulders. Wall hand stands are a great alternative to a full handstand.
- Come into a downward dog position next to a wall. Your heels should be as close to the wall as you can get without them resting on the actual wall.
- Keep your palms firmly planted on the ground and keep your arms and shoulders firm and strong.
- Slowly, begin walking both of your feet up the side of the wall. Stop when your legs become parallel to the floor. Your body will be in an "L" shape.
- Hold this position for a few deep breaths. Then, slowly walk your feet back down the wall into downward dog again.
5Go into crane pose. A more difficult move, crane pose is truly great at strengthening your entire arm in addition to your back and shoulders.
- Start this exercise by squatting down with your inner feet just a few inches a part. Let your knees fall outwards to the sides so they are at a 45 degree angle from your body.
- Lean your torso forwards and place your palms flat on the floor in front of your body. Begin to bend your elbows and lean forward with your torso.
- Allow your shins to rest on the backs of your upper arms. Lean forward enough so that your feet come off the ground.
- Adjust your position so you bring your knees almost all the way into your armpits and your shins resting completely on the backs of your arms. Hold and balance in this position for a few deep breaths.
Part Two of Three:
Enhancing Your Yoga Practice
1Find a great teacher. If you're looking to achieve a specific goal with your yoga practice, look for a great, well-trained instructor. Finding someone who can help you specifically achieve your goals is important.
- Talk to your current yoga teacher, if you have one, about your goal to tone and define your arms. Ask if there are specific classes or poses you can practice.
- If you don't have a current teacher, take a few classes and get to know a couple of instructors. You may find one that's particularly good and focused on muscle toning and strengthening poses.
- Once you find an instructor you like, you can work with that instructor over time as you begin achieving your goals.
2Ask for adjustments. Over time, you may notice that you find some poses easier to do or that you can hold them for a longer period of time. Add in some adjustments to your routine to help continually challenge your body.
- As you continually practice yoga and focus on your arms, your muscles will get used to your routine. If you don't make any changes to your routine, you won't see continual progression.
- Talk to your yoga instructor about adjustments or changes you can make to your yoga routine.
- Are there more difficult poses you can try? Are there more challenging variations to poses? Does holding the poses longer provide any additional benefits?
3Try power yoga. Yoga in general will be great for your arms. However, some forms of yoga, like power yoga, may be even more beneficial.
- Power yoga is a more physically challenging form of yoga. Although it still moves through a progression of poses, it's meant to burn more calories and be more difficult in general.
- Power yoga will heat up your body and require you to move through more difficult poses at a faster pace.
- Incorporating a power yoga class into your weekly routine is a great way to burn more calories, but also to challenge your arms in a different manner.
4Practice regularly. To really get the benefits of yoga, you'll need to practice regularly. How often during the week will depend on your specific goals, available time and your overall progress.
- To see definition in your arms, you'll most likely need to practice yoga a minimum of once a week. However, 2-3 times a week will most likely be better for you.
- Most yoga sessions are 45-60 minutes. This is appropriate for arm toning, as the whole session won't generally focus on your arms or upper body.
- In addition to practicing more often throughout the week, you need to stay consistent from week to week.
- If you are consistent for a few weeks and then skip classes for a month, you won't be able to continue your progress and may take a lot longer to meet your goals.
5Do yoga at home. To help you stay consistent and provide variation to your routine, consider doing yoga at home. This can help you stay regular with your practice and be a great supplement to help you meet your goals.
- Yoga has become so common that there are a ton of resources for those who want to practice. There are online videos, TV channels and DVD's that you can use to bring yoga to your home.
- If you can't get to a yoga class as often as you'd like, consider using one of these options instead.
- Plus, many online videos or DVD's cater to a specific need - like toning your arms. Look for videos that focus on certain body parts or toning so that you can find a routine that helps you meet your goals.
Part Three of Three:
Supplementing Your Practice
1Focus on your biceps. The bicep muscles are the muscle group that's on the front of your upper arm. Incorporating exercises to strengthen these muscles will help build definition on the front of your arm. Try:
- Incorporate incline bicep curls. Bicep curls are a common exercise to help build strength in the front of your arm. However, performing bicep curls while laying on an incline bench increases the resistance and challenge of this exercise. Repeat this exercise 8-10 times per set. Aim for at least 2-3 sets if possible.
- Incorporate air boxing. Boxing isn't only a great cardio exercise. Many boxing moves are great to tone your entire arms. Air boxing is a great way to practice without having to go to a specialty gym or use special equipment. To get the best workout, forcefully punch your arms out. Alternate between your right and left arms as quickly as you can. Aim for 20 punches per arm.
2Focus on your triceps. The triceps are the muscle group on the backside of your arm. This is a common area to want to tone and define with both yoga and other arm exercises. You can try:
- Try diamond push-ups. A great total arm exercise to try are diamond push-ups. Because of the central hand position, this is a slightly more difficult exercise, but great for toning your arms. Repeat 8-10 times per set and aim for 2-3 sets if you can.
- Do tricep kickbacks. To tone up the back of your arm, focus on working your triceps. Kickbacks are a great exercise to strengthen and tone your triceps and backs of your arms. Do 8 reps per set and try to do 2-3 sets total.
3Incorporate cardio exercises. You may not think that cardio is an important exercise when it comes to toning your arms. However, if you want to tone your arm, you're also probably interested in seeing some definition in your arms. This is where cardio comes in.
- Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise can help you lose a little weight and excess fat. When you lose weight, you'll be able to lose the fat that's found on top of your muscles, making your arms look more toned.
- In addition to your yoga, also include regular cardio activity each week. It's typically recommended to include about 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity each week.
- Aim to do moderate intensity activities like jogging, using the elliptical, biking, hiking, taking an aerobics class, swimming or using the rowing machine.
4Give your arms a break. Including yoga is a great way to tone your arms. However, if you work on your arms several days a week, you might not see the results you're looking for. Take some time off to help you see your progress.
- When you're lifting weights or doing yoga, you break down the fibers in your muscles. It's during rest that your body performs the recovery and repair of these muscles.
- It's during this rest period that you will see gains or progress. Increases in muscle size, strength and endurance will all happen during rest or time off.
- So instead of working your arms several days a week, just focus on your arms a few days a week. You want to make sure that you have a rest day in between days of work.
- For example, if you do an arm-focused yoga workout on Monday, skip an arm workout on Tuesday.
5Eat a healthy diet. In addition to losing weight and cutting out excess calories from your diet, focus on a higher protein diet. This in combination with a reduced calorie diet can help you see improved muscle tone.
- In addition, a healthy diet can help you lose some excess weight. If you have excess weight to lose, you might notice that you can't see all that much toning or definition in your arms. However, if you lose some extra weight, you'll be able to see better results.
- Protein is essential to the maintenance of muscle mass, but also to the synthesis of muscle. So make sure your diet is high in lean protein sources.
- Try lean protein sources like: poultry, lean beef, pork, seafood, shellfish, low-fat dairy products, eggs, tofu, nuts and legumes.
- Try to include at least 1 serving of protein at every meal. This will help ensure that you're eating enough. Measure out 3-4 oz or 1/2 cup of protein per serving.