Yoga Workout For Strong, Sculpted Arms

By: Kim Pieper, CPT // June 27, 2016

Tired of the same old dumbbell routine in an attempt to make your arms stronger and more sculpted? Welcome to yoga! Well-known for its stretching and flexibility benefits, yoga is also a kick-butt way to strengthen every muscle in your upper body. With a majority of your time spent down on the floor pushing your bodyweight around, this no-nonsense, all business yoga routine might make you shake a little in the process, but it will definitely leave you with strong, sculpted arms.

Often in an attempt to shape our arms, we go right to dumbbells or hand weights because we associate them with strength. The reality is that your own bodyweight is likely much more powerful than the 5 or 10 pound hand weights that you pick up at the gym. The bodyweight training you do in yoga not only provides a well-needed challenge, but is a functional way to move with all the added benefits of yoga to boot! Practice this routine 2-3 times per week and you’ll have a beautiful upper body in no time.

Vinyasa Flow

To begin the workout, practice the vinyasa flow shown here. Vinyasa flow is a series of 4 exercises done in succession—a flow—that wakes up the muscles and get the blood flowing to the places you most want it. Try doing this vinyasa flow between 6 to 8 times before going on to the poses that you will hold.

1. Plank

A) Begin on your hands and knees. Pull your abdominals in and step your feet back behind you until your legs are straight.

B) Keep hands directly under shoulders and eyes at the front of your mat so your neck remains aligned.

C) Hold the abdominals and legs tight and make sure your back stays long; avoid sagging in the low back.

2. Chaturanga

A) Coming out of the plank position, slowly lower your chest toward the ground pulling elbows towards your ribs and looking toward the floor in front of you.

B) Keep your hips just slightly above your chest and squeeze your abs.

3. Up Dog

A) Coming out of the chatarunga, gently flip your feet so that the tops of your feet are now on the mat and your toes are pointed.

B) As you exhale, press through your hands and the tops of your feet raising your body and legs up off the ground until arms are straight.

4. Downward Dog

A) Coming out of the up dog position, tuck your toes under and engage your abdominals as you push your body up off the mat so only your hands and feet are on the mat.

B) Press through your hands moving your chest gently toward your thighs and your heels gently toward the floor.

C) Move shoulders forward over wrist so you are back in plank position and begin to flow again.

Related: Wake-Me-Up Morning Yoga Workout

After 6-8 times through the vinyasa flow, move right into these poses, which you will hold for 30 seconds or more to build strength. Remember: 30 seconds is a suggestion—change the time according to your own strength. Give everything a second try if time allows!

Side Plank Pose


A) Begin in a full plank with hands under shoulders and feet and thighs touching.

B) Squeeze abdominals tightly and open right arm straight into the air turning body to the side so right foot rests on left foot.

C) Lift body through waistline and hold for 30 seconds.

D) Return to plank and switch sides.

Crow Pose


A) Begin on feet, crouched down with tailbone between ankles and hands in prayer at chest.

B) Fan hands open and place them flat on floor in front of toes. Keep elbows bent.

C) Squeeze inner thighs against the back of your arms, tighten abdominals and begin tipping your weight forward so shoulders are over hands.

D) Continue squeezing inner thighs and abdominals while lifting feet off the floor to balance.Hold and breathe for 30 seconds.

Wheel Pose


A) Begin lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor close to glutes.

B) Tucking your shoulders under you, tighten your abdominals and lift your hips up as high as you can.

C) Reach your hands back and place palms down next to ears. On an exhale, press hands into floor, lengthen arms and press chest up high until you are in a full backbend position.

D) Continue to breathe and relax head. Hold for 30 seconds.

Dolphin Pose


A) Begin in a kneeling position with forearms on the floor and hands clasped.

B) Tuck your toes under and lift your tailbone up and back, lengthening legs.

C) Press forearms into floor as you press chest back toward thighs and heels toward floor.

D) Breathe and hold for 30 seconds.

Reverse Tabletop Pose


A) Begin in a seated position with feet flat on floor in line with sits bones.

B) Place palms open on floor behind your back with fingers facing in.

C) Look up and as you squeeze your abs and glutes, lift body upward while gently letting your head relax back.

D) Breathe and hold 30 seconds.

Side Crow


Last but certainly not least….for those of you hard-core yogi’s out there, give your side crow a little love! Of course, anyone can give this one a try. Just don’t be too hard on yourself if you tip over once or twice. It’s a tough pose! Once you get it, however, you’re going to be pretty darn proud!

A) Begin on feet, crouched down with tailbone between ankles and hands in prayer at chest.

B) Fan hands open and place them flat on floor to the right of your right foot.

C) Bend elbows to create a “shelf” and set hips on right arm shelf and bent knees on left arm shelf.

D) Squeeze core tightly as you lift your feet off the floor and hold. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides.


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