5 Best Yoga Poses and Exercises to Make Your Upper Body Super Strong

Yoga helps to strengthen the upper body. (Photo via Pexels/Алекке Блажин)
Yoga helps to strengthen the upper body. (Photo via Pexels/Алекке Блажин)

Are you looking to achieve a strong upper body but not sure how to do it? Have you considered yoga? If not, now is the time to give it a try.

Not only can yoga reduce stress and detoxify your body, but it can also help strengthen muscles and make your upper body super strong. It can make you more flexible while building muscles throughout your body. Certain yoga poses can improve your posture, release tension, reduce tightness, and gently stretch every muscle so you can feel stronger and healthier.

In this article, we’ve listed a few of the most important yoga poses to make your upper body stronger. While the following poses are easy and suitable for beginners and pro-yoga practitioners alike, it is still advised that you practice these asanas under the guidance of a trainer, especially if you are an absolute beginner.

Yoga poses to strengthen your upper body

Roll out a mat and give the following yoga poses a quick try.

1. Four-limbed staff pose or Chaturanga Dandasana

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The four-limbed staff pose is great for improving strength in your arms, shoulders, wrists and spine. Plus, it also works on your core muscles and helps strengthen your abs.

To perform:

  • Get into a plank position with your body in a straight line from your head to your toe. Lower your chest towards the floor and pull your elbows towards your ribs. Keep your gaze on the floor in front of you.
  • Squeeze your abs and breathe deeply as you hold the posture for a few seconds.
  • Slowly push yourself back up and hold again.

2. Downward facing dog pose or Adho Mukha Shvanasana

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This incredible yoga pose gently stretches the backside of your upper body and helps strengthen your arms and legs as well.

To perform:

  • Take a kneeling position with your hands in the front and your fingers spread.
  • Engage your abs and bring your legs behind to get into a tabletop position. Once you are stable, push your hips towards the ceiling and ensure that only your feet and hands are on the floor.
  • Gently press through your hands and move your chest towards your thighs. Press your heels into the floor and hold the posture for as long as you can.
  • Keep your neck and head stable throughout the pose and remember to breathe easily.

3. Cow face pose or Gomukhasana

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The cow face pose in yoga stretches your upper back, shoulders and arms and helps relieve tight upper body muscles.

To perform:

  • Take a seated cross-legged position with your left knee over your right or vice-versa.
  • Now bring your right arm straight up and bend your right elbow while bringing your right hand behind your neck.
  • Lift your left arm out to your left side, bend your elbow and bring your left arm up towards the centre of your back.
  • Clasp your hands together behind your back and move your elbows to the centre. Do not tilt your head forward and remember to breathe easily.
  • Hold the posture and then release your arms. Perform the pose with your opposite hand.

4. Upward-facing dog pose or Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana

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The upward-facing dog is a great backbend pose that improves posture, opens your heart, and strengthens muscles in the upper body. It gives a gentle stretch to your chest and spine.

To perform:

  • Lie face down on the floor with your hands flat and your head lifted off the floor. Your palms should be under your shoulders and positioned inward.
  • Point your toes and press through your hands to lift your legs and body off the floor. Continue to lift your body until your arms get straight.
  • Hold the posture and ensure that your neck is relaxed. Breathe easily.

5. Dolphin pose or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

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The dolphin pose is an amazing inversion yoga pose that strengthens your core and improves muscle strength in your arms, shoulders, and entire upper body.

To perform:

  • Take a tabletop position and place your forearms straight in front of you on the floor.
  • Curl your toes and engage your lower abs as you lift your knees off the floor. Slowly lift your sit bones too, and try to straighten your legs while lowering your heels towards the ground.
  • Press your forearms into the floor and keep your back stable. Lengthen your spine and rest your head between your arms.
  • Hold the posture for as long as you can.

Takeaway

As you develop muscle endurance and strength, try to hold the aforementioned yoga poses for longer. For an added challenge, however, repeat each pose a few times more. While these poses are safe and suitable for everyone, people with certain health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease should practice cautiously and use props, if needed.

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Edited by Ruby Khanna