5 Yoga Poses to Build Upper Body Strength


Frame PT Charlotte Clarke shows her favourite moves for toning your arms and core.

Toned arms are at the top of many women’s yoga wishlists, especially at this time of year, when our limbs are on show more often. But how do you achieve this seemingly elusive goal? ‘You need some muscle gain as well as some fat loss,’ says Charlotte Clarke, a Level 3 personal trainer and fitness instructor at FRAME yoga studios(moveyourframe.com), plus a fitness model and bodybuilding bikini competitor. To help you in your quest, Charlotte’s come up with the circuit opposite, which works your upper body and core and is inspired by the Frame Lift class. ‘We keep the repetitions high to build muscular endurance and tap into the muscle building/toning zone,’ she says. How do you know how much weight to lift Play with the weight – you want a weight that’s challenging for all 12-15 reps, but you shouldn’t be struggling four reps in,’ she says You can use dumbbells if you can’t find a suitable weighted barbell.’Ready to give it a go? Do four rounds of 12-15 reps, with no rest between exercises.Beginner lifters should rest for 90 seconds between each round; intermediates for 75 seconds and advanced lifters 60 seconds.

5 Yoga Poses to Build Upper Body Strength Photo Gallery


‘Keep your core tight and engaged throughout to help with form (and for some cheeky extra core work!)’


BENEFITS: Your shoulders, assisted by your arms and core.Stand with the racked bar across the front of your shoulders, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart (A). Keep your knees soft (not locked out). Holding your core nice and strong, push the bar straight up overhead – think about punching your fists up towards the ceiling to keep your wrists strong (B). Lower the bar, keeping it nice and controlled, to your starting front-racked position.

5 Yoga Poses to Build Upper Body Strength


BENEFITS: This move mainly works your biceps.Stand, with your feet hip-width apart and your knees soft, core tight and holding the bar in an underhand grip (palms up, A). Keeping your elbows fixed in by your sides and shoulders rolled back and down,bend your elbows and curl the bar up towards your chest (B). Lower The bar in a controlled way down to the start position. When it starts to feel heavy, try not to swing the bar – keep the repetitions controlled,squeezing your biceps at the top of the movement.

5 Yoga Poses to Build Upper Body Strength


BENEFITS: This mainly works the front and side of your shoulders.Stand, with feet hip-width apart, knees soft and core engaged, holding weight plates with your thumbs through the middle hole in front of your thighs, palms facing in. With your shoulders back and down and a microbend in your elbows, raise both arms simultaneously straight up to shoulder height (A). Control your arms down to the starting position.Keeping the micro bend in your elbows, raise both arms out to the side bringing them up to shoulder height – hands, elbows and shoulders should all be at the same height (B). Control your arms down to the start.

5 Yoga Poses to Build Upper Body Strength


BENEFITS: This exercise targets your entire core.Holding two weight plates, bend your elbows and bring your arms in front of your body, forearms parallel to one another. Stand with feet wide and knees bent out to the sides (A). Keeping your legs and hips still, rotate your torso to the right, to the centre, to the left (B), to the centre. Repeat for a set number of repetitions, keeping your lower body still and core engaged the entire time.

5 Yoga Poses to Build Upper Body Strength


BENEFITS: This exercise targets your entire core, but particularly your obliques.You can either do this exercise with your feet on the floor or, to make it harder, raise your feet off of the floor. Hold one or two weight plates inby your torso with your shoulders rolled back and down and chest up and proud (A). Slowly rotate your upper body to reach the plates to the floor on one side (B), then return to the centre and repeat to the other side, doing it all in a very controlled manner.

5 Yoga Poses to Build Upper Body Strength


BENEFITS: This works your obliques and boosts shoulder stability.Start in a low plank position, with core tight – belly button pulled up towards your spine (A). Rotate your hips down to one side to tap the floor (B), then return to your plank. Repeat to the other side. The dips should be controlled and steady, keeping the muscles under tension.

5 Yoga Poses to Build Upper Body Strength

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