Health: Ask the Expert: Tighten Up Those Arms

Although the verdict has been out for quite some time that lifting light weights with lots of reps won’t add bulk, it didn’t give me the long, lengthened look that I wanted. I’ve been doing power yoga for about three years now, and each month I find myself liking what I see in the mirror more and more. No, my arms will never be Pixy Stick-thin (and truthfully, would teeny, tiny twig arms even look right on so many of our bodies?), but now my upper arms — and shoulders, back, and yes, I even see a feminine little line called a bicep! — are looking toned and taught.

To see the most change in your shape, you’ll need to commit to about three sessions a week. Make sure your class focuses on plenty of chaturanga dandasans, a power-packed almost-pushup. I love Power Yoga Works (3527 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia, 215-243-YOGA; 81 Lancaster Ave., Malvern, 610-889-9642; 90-minute classes. You positively drip with sweat when you’re through.

On days you can’t make it to class (three sessions a week is a what I aim for, but I’m lucky if I can make two!), spend about 15 to 20 minutes at home doing a few downward-facing dogs, planks, chaturanga dandasans, and dolphin plank poses (this one still kills me!). Hold each pose as long as you can, breathing deeply. Rest for a few seconds and then repeat 2 to 3 more times, adding reps as you gain strength.

A few months of regular, consistent practice and you’ll be seeing, and feeling, a more toned and strengthened upper arm.

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