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7 Yoga Poses for Strong, Sleek Arms

Vera Boykewich

Lifting weights day after day and not seeing the results you hoped for? Give the dumbbells a rest and sculpt sleek, strong arms with these seven yoga poses instead.

Remember: Be happy with where you are today. Do as many of these as you can, and rest in a child’s pose any time you need or want.



Down Dog: Start on hands and knees. Tuck toes and lift hips high until body forms an upside-down "V." Reach heels back toward the mat until almost touching the ground. Rotate shoulders down and away from ears while rotating elbows inward. Drop head so neck is long. Press into knuckles of forefinger and thumbs to alleviate pressure from wrists. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Plank: Start on hands and knees. Step feet back so they are hip-width apart, keeping toes tucked and shoulders and wrists in line. Tuck chin slightly, keeping cervical spine in line with body. Engage navel to spine and energetically reach back through heels while pushing through crown of head. Breathe here for at least 3 deep breaths. (You can lower your knees to the ground any time you want or need to as you continue to build strength.)

Pushup Halfway Down: From plank, reach back through heels. Engage core and soften through elbows, reaching them straight back until forearms graze rib cage. Stay here for 5 deep breaths.

Side Plank: From pushup halfway down, transfer weight onto left hand and outer edge of left foot. Extend left arm and reach right arm toward the ceiling. (Beginners can modify by lowering bottom shin to the ground.) Place one foot in front of the other, then stack right foot on top of left. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths. Repeat on other side.

Forearm Plank: Begin on hands and knees with forearms shoulder-width apart. Clasp hands together. Tuck toes, lift knees off the ground, and step feet back. Reach through the heels and crown of the head, keeping a long spine. Engage navel to spine and breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths. (Lower knees if necessary).

Dolphin: Start on hands and knees with arms shoulder-width apart. Place forearms parallel to one another and lift hips high. Drop head and reach chest back through arms toward feet to enhance shoulder opening. Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Dolphin Pushups: Begin on all fours. Place forearms on the ground shoulder-width apart. Tuck toes and lift hips. Reach chin toward thumbs on an inhale. Come almost to a forearm plank (your feet should be close enough together to prevent you from coming to a complete forearm plank). On exhale, lift back to dolphin and raise hips back toward ceiling. Do 10 reps. Rest in child's pose.



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