Yoga Workout - Biceps and Chest
(06 Jul 2011)

Yoga workout with Kate Ball - biceps and chest

Upper Body Strength: Biceps and Chest
with Kate Ball

This yoga sequence is highly effective for strengthening pecs and biceps, as well as stretching and toning the muscles in those areas. With a little bit of direct attention, these muscles develop quickly and are able to take on more of the ‘workload’ in general exercise. This sequence also provides a nice little cardio workout – even though you are focusing on the pecs and biceps, you don’t neglect the rest of your body…

Downward Dog
This is compulsory posture for every yoga class. Very effective for building bicep and deltoid strength and chiseling the arms and shoulders. If you squeeze your elbows in slightly, you’ll feel your chest muscles turn on too!
You body is in a triangle shape: sit-bones high, chest presses in towards thighs, knees can be slightly bent to get the back straight. Hold this for five breaths, push the floor away with your hands and your arms and shoulders will start to work!

Keep arms long, press up through the mid-point between your two shoulderblades, rounding your upper back. Engage core and drop hips so that your body is one long straight line.

Half push-up. Different from the traditional push-up in that elbows stay tucked into the body, streamlined. Look up slightly, elbows at 90 degrees.
Hold for two to five breaths. This is brilliant for building bicep strength.

Effective for opening and the chest and shoulders, while being good cardio at the same time.
Interlace fingers behind your back, inhale and lift everything off the floor – head, chest, legs etc … and most importantly, pull your hands away from your sit-bones to open up your chest. Lats get a nice little workout too!
Hold for 5 even breaths. Release.

Hands beneath shoulders, Inhale: press up to plank, exhale back to downdog

Great for working the deltoids and building chest muscles. It’s basically downdog on your elbows.
Elbows are shoulder-distance away from each other. Forearms parallel to each other, fingers spread. Lift hips high and press your chest towards your thighs. Push hands and forearms hard into the earth. Hold our 5 breaths. Then take it back to good old Down Dog.

Side Plank
This is a gem of a posture – great for toning arms AND learning precision and focus. From plank, tilt all the way onto the outer blade of your right foot and support yourself on your right hand as you lift your left fingers to the sky. Send hips high and use your core for support! An easier variation is to drop your bottom knee to the floor.
Repeat on the other side.

* * *

We’ve worked a lot on strengthening the arms and chest – now for some opening and stretching. The key principle is to stretch to the point where your feel an effective sensation – it may even be a bit uncomfortable, but never push into pain. These are chest openers to relieve those tight chest muscles:

Warrior 1 with chest opening
From Downdog, angle your left foot at a forty-five degree angel, step your right foot in between your hands and lift your fingers to the sky. From here, let your head drop back and arch into a gentle backbend, elbows bending towards the earth so that your chest spreads open and gets a good stretch.

VARIATION: If it’s more comfortable, you can reach for opposite elbows behind your back. This is a good option, especially if you’ve got tight shoulders. Or the backbend doesn’t feel good.

Humble Warrior
From Warrior 1, interlace your fingers behind your back and drop your upper body on the inside of your right thigh, so that your interlaced fingers can fall over your head. This is an effective chest opener.


Don’t forget to take a few minutes to breath in a comfortable position before going out into your day. Lie flat in savasana, or maybe take a low-key twist on your back. Find a little peace and love, then go out and spread it around. Namaste!

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