The Best Yoga Poses for Upper Body Strength

Struggling with strengthening your upper body? You’re not alone! This article will help you learn the best yoga poses to build strength and improve mobility. Unlock the power of yoga to become stronger and more confident in your own body!

Quick facts: Best Yoga Poses For Upper Body Strength

  • ✅ Plank Pose: builds upper body strength, improves posture and aids digestion (Yoga Journal)
  • ✅ Handstand Pose: builds core, shoulder and arm strength (Yoga International)
  • ✅ Crow Pose: strengthens arms, wrists and shoulders (Yoga Journal)
  • ✅ Upward-Facing Dog Pose: strengthens arms, shoulders, back and core (Yoga Journal)
  • ✅ Chair Pose: helps to sculpt and strengthen the arms, shoulders and upper back (Yoga Journal)


Developing strength in the upper body is key for improving posture and overall physical fitness. Through the practice of yoga, one can effectively work on their upper body strength without relying on weights or machines. Yoga offers a combination of gentle and dynamic poses to help build strength and improve endurance in the arms, shoulders, back, chest, and core.

By integrating several effective postures such as Downward-Facing Dog, Plank Pose, Chaturanga Dandasana, Upward-Facing Dog Pose and Side Plank into a regular yoga practice can help to strengthen these muscles. Additionally through the use of handstands and arm balances such as crow pose which requires practitioners to bear the weight of their body on their arms can also build strength in these areas.

Practicing regularly with an emphasis on proper alignment and breath work during each posture will yield better results physically as well both mentally by calming irritability or anxiety caused by stress. Everyone should be sure to ease into any yoga practice at a comfortable pace to avoid injury or overexertion before delving into more challenging poses.

Yoga Poses for Upper Body Strength

Yoga can be a great way to develop upper body strength. It can not only help you tone your muscles, but it can also help you improve your posture, balance and flexibility. There are many yoga poses that specifically target the upper body to help you build strength.

Let’s take a look at some of the best poses for upper body strength:

Plank Pose

Plank Pose is one of the most effective yoga poses for developing upper body strength. This pose requires the practitioner to balance on their arms and toes, while holding their body in a straight line.

Plank Pose can be done with the hands or forearms in front of your body and the head aligned with the spine, or you can try it from a “low plank” position. This low plank has your hands directly beneath your shoulders, with your elbows pulled in close to your sides. From here, you can slowly lift one foot off the ground and hold for five breaths before switching to the other foot.

Plank Pose is an excellent way to build strength throughout your arms, abs, shoulders, and chest. It also helps improve balance and stability. Plus, as an added bonus it also helps strengthen the wrists!

Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-Facing Dog is one of the most recognizable and well-loved yoga poses due to its popularity in modern exercise routines. While Downward-Facing Dog is primarily known for its ability to stretch and open up the entire body, it also serves as an excellent pose for building upper body strength. It does this by engaging the arms, shoulders, chest and core through their entire range of motion.

To get into the pose correctly, start in a tabletop position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees beneath your hips. Next, lift your knees away from the floor until you are in an inverted “V” shape with your arms and legs straight. Then press firmly through your palms into the floor while sending energy up through your core and pushing away from the ground with each heel. Hold this pose for 5 breaths before slowly coming out of it.

Upward-Facing Dog

Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) is an energizing and heart-opening backbend that provides a great upper body workout. This pose strengthens the arms, back, and shoulders while increasing flexibility in the spine. It helps create space between the shoulder blades and increases blood flow to the chest and lungs, allowing for more oxygen intake. As you go deeper into this pose, your chest will expand more which creates even more of a stretch in your upper body muscles.

When practicing Upward-Facing Dog, start by lying on your stomach with your palms flat on the floor beside your chest and toes tucked under. As you inhale, press down on your palms as you lift your chest off of the floor – draw your shoulder blades slightly together while keeping the muscles in front of them relaxed. Engage both feet as they press down into the ground to help lift yourself up more fully using both legs together instead of relying solely on strength from your arms. As you exhale, keep pressing through the palms but loosen slightly from the crown of your head to allow for movement in every part of this pose – including a slight arch or curve in your lower back if it feels comfortable to do so. If desired, once you’ve established a good foundation for this pose with both feet grounded, use alternate nostril breathing or other types of yoga breathwork to deepen the experience further.

Chaturanga Dandasana

Chaturanga Dandasana, or “Four-Limbed Staff Pose,” is a foundational yoga pose that helps to strengthen the upper body. This pose requires tremendous muscular effort and coordination, as it consists of smoothly transitioning between two poses—plank and low plank—in a controlled way.

To perform this pose, begin in plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and hips lined up with your shoulders. Engage your abdominals and slowly start to lower your body while keeping your elbows close to the rib cage. When you reach low plank position, make sure that there is a right angle between the upper arm and the forearm. Keep breathing deeply throughout the movement, so that you can tap into all of the benefits of this intense pose!

Chaturanga Dandasana is an excellent way to build strength in arms, core, and shoulders simultaneously.

Dolphin Pose

Dolphin pose is a popular standing pose in yoga that works to strengthen and tone the upper body muscles. It’s a great pose for building shoulder strength and stability (something we use every day).

The pose itself looks like an upside down position of downward facing dog. It begins with your arms stretched above your head with palms pressed together, then you lower your head, chest and shoulders towards the floor, arching your back slightly. Tuck your toes to really engage the muscles of the legs. To deepen the stretch in this pose, press your heels into the floor while keeping stretched arms and pressing them towards each other.

When done correctly, dolphin pose will build strength in your core and upper body while stretching both shoulders and hamstrings. With regular practice it can help improve posture by opening up the chest area, reducing stress on joints, creating balance throughout the body, increasing flexibility in areas like shoulders or spine, and improving cardiovascular health.

Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Practicing yoga is a great way to build physical and mental strength. Yoga helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the body, improve flexibility and overall agility, and reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, it can even help to increase focus and concentration.

In this article, we will take a look at the benefits of practicing yoga and the best yoga poses for upper body strength.

Improved Posture

Improved posture is one of the main benefits of yoga. Poor posture often results in neck and shoulder pain, leading to tightness in the upper body and possible difficulty performing everyday activities. Practicing specific yoga poses can help alleviate this issue by increasing strength and flexibility throughout the body.

During an upper body yoga practice, postures focus on stabilizing the shoulders, engaging the back muscles, and strengthening the core—all important components of good posture that are often neglected in day-to-day life. This kind of yoga also helps bring awareness to how you’re using your body on a daily basis so that you can break any habits or patterns that contribute to poor posture.

Not only does improved posture increase your overall confidence levels, but studies have shown it can also reduce stress levels by encouraging a sense of calm and relaxation.

Increased Strength

Yoga is an amazing practice that can help you to achieve a wide variety of physical and mental health benefits. One of the main benefits of yoga is increased strength.

Practicing yoga regularly can help build strength in your upper body by strengthening your arms, shoulders, and chest. This increased strength can help improve posture, reduce risk of injury, and improve balance.

Certain poses such as plank pose, downward facing dog, and chaturanga are excellent at building upper body strength. Each pose has its own unique set of instructions and benefits making it easier to customize your practice to fit your own needs and level of ability. Additionally, yoga can be adjusted to become more or less challenging providing a greater range of options for all levels from beginner to advanced practitioners. Yoga provides many physical and mental benefits that will continue no matter what level you are at in the practice.

Improved Flexibility

Yoga is an ancient practice with many associated benefits, one of which is increased flexibility. Regularly practicing yoga, even at a beginner level, can help improve flexibility in the body. This has numerous long-term benefits for overall strength and mobility.

Improved flexibility encourages a more efficient posture and reduces the risk of injury from everyday activities such as sitting for too long or lifting heavy objects incorrectly. Furthermore, yoga helps you stay balanced and centered by targeting the muscles that assist in stabilizing the spine and joints. As such, it not only helps you stay limber but also strengthens your core overall.

Lastly, increased flexibility can help release tension from muscles that are chronically tight due to stress or overuse. Yoga allows these muscles to relax so they can work more efficiently and effectively during other activities.


Through the practice of yoga, it is possible to attain strong upper body strength. Through regular practice and mindful attention to body alignment, stretching, and breathing, one can experience improvements in posture, flexibility and balance.

By practicing poses such as Warrior II, Plank pose, Upward Facing Dog pose and triangle pose regularly throughout the week or even in a single session one can gain increased strength in their arms, chest and core. Regularly monitoring how one’s body is feeling while practicing can ensure that they get the most out of their yoga practice while staying safe.

FAQs about: Best Yoga Poses For Upper Body Strength

Q: What is the best yoga pose for upper body strength?

A: The best yoga pose for upper body strength is Plank Pose. It is a powerful pose that engages and strengthens the arms, shoulders, chest, and core.

Q: What are the benefits of practicing Plank Pose?

A: Practicing Plank Pose can help build strength in the back, arms, shoulders, chest, and core. It also helps to improve posture, reduce stress, and increase body awareness.

Q: How do I do Plank Pose correctly?

A: To do Plank Pose correctly, start by coming into a push-up position on your hands and toes. Your body should be in a straight line, with your elbows bent and your hands directly under your shoulders. Make sure your core is engaged and your hips are in line with your head. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute and then slowly release.

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