Yoga Sweat: How to tone your arms

Strengthen and tone your arms with Yoga Sweat.

This exercise class, created by yoga teacher Minnie Samengo, uses yoga-inspired poses to up your heart rate and break a sweat while improving your strength. It can be the ideal complement to your yoga practice, building fitness with moves you’re familiar with.

Here, Minnie Samengo shares her favourite Yoga Sweat moves for helping you to tone and strengthen your arms.

This sequence is only a guide. Listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right or causes you pain, come out of the pose. Always chat with your doctor if you have any concerns about starting a new exercise routine.

Yoga Sweat moves to tone your arms

Turbo dog

Take your downward-facing dog up a notch with this exercise. Turbo dog fires up your shoulders, chest, arms and core, helping to build strength. If you have a regular yoga practice, this move can help you to prepare for more advanced poses such as arm balances and inversions.

How to do turbo dog

  1. Begin in plank pose, with your shoulders over your wrists and your legs stretching back in one long line (just like a plank of wood). Keep your ankles over the toes.
  2. Lift your hips and bottom up to the sky to move into your downward-facing dog.
  3. Bend your knees to begin with to help tilt your tailbone up to the sky. Then, it it feels okay for your hamstrings to maintain this position with your tailbone, begin to move towards straightening the legs and reaching the heels down towards the mat.
  4. To move into your turbo dog, bend your elbows backwards (towards your knees) half way towards the floor. Hug the elbows toward each other to ensure that your elbows do not bow. Widen across your upper back to mobilise your shoulder blades.
  5. Hold for one to three breaths, increasing the length of the hold as you build your strength.

Diamond push-up

This pose is a great one for working your triceps and chest muscles. You may also feel your core firing and your gluteal (bottom) muscles working as they act to stabilise your body and keep it in a straight line.

How to do a diamond push-up

  1. Bring your wrists under your shoulders and step your feet back into a push-up position. Lower your knees to the ground.
  2. Move your hands so that your index finger and thumb create a diamond shape directly below your chest.
  3. From here, begin to lower your chest to your hands, keeping your body in a straight line.
  4. Push yourself back up to your starting position.
  5. This one will make your triceps burn! Build up gradually, starting with one push-up and adding more on as you feel your body getting stronger

Plank commandos

This pose is an excellent one that targets your shoulders, arms and core. You’ll move between full plank and forearm plank, keeping your core tight. If you’re just beginning with this pose, start on your knees until you feel strong enough to keep them lifted.

  1. Begin in a plank position, with your shoulders over the wrists and your ankles over the toes. Imagine a long line running from the crown of your head to your heels. Keep your feet wide for a stable base, keeping your core tight.
  2. From here, slowly move from your hands onto your forearms. Try to keep your hips as still as you can, using the core to stabilise the lower body and maintaining a flat back at all times.
  3. Push back up to plank position. Remember to switch which side you move from your forearm to your hand to keep everything balanced.
  4. Start with two repetitions and gradually build up each day as your strength improves.

Dolphin dips

This move helps to build overall shoulder, arm and core strength. It also helps to stretch your shoulders and upper back. If you have a regular yoga practice, this move is great preparation for more challenging poses such as inversions.

  1. Come into a forearm plank. Keep your elbows under the shoulders, your forearms parallel to each other. Walk your feet toward your hands, lifting your hips.
  2. Think about pressing the mat away from you to ensure you don’t collapse through the shoulders.
  3. Stay here or, for a more advanced progression, move to dolphin dips. Lift your head and shift your weight further forward (try to kiss your fingers) before rocking back into your original position.
  4. Start with one, and gradually build up when you feel ready to.
  5. Lower the bottom back to the heels and rest your forehead to the ground, stretching the arms forward to rest in child’s pose when you’re done.

Try Yoga Sweat

Join Minnie online and try her Yoga Sweat classes at Minnie Samengo Yoga and follow her on Instagram @minniesamengoyoga.

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