Although arm-strengthening exercises can be challenging, rest assured that your body will grow stronger over time, regardless of your fitness level or age, Crews says. In her yoga classes for seniors, Crews heavily modifies traditional arm-strengthening postures to match the abilities of her students. "Gradually, I show them how they can move from modified versions to the complete pose," she says. "One day, I saw this lady who is nearly 70 in full Side Plank. Her form was excellent, and she was so proud of herself. There was no way that she could have done that initially. But she worked at it slowly and progressed gradually. Now she can do things she could never have done before."
Use Your Body as a Free Weight
1. From Plank Pose, complete several "push-ups," lowering to Chaturanga and lifting back into Plank while keeping your legs and torso in one, straight line.
2. Periodically modify your hand position when you lower Chaturanga. The traditional posture with the fingers pointing forward tones the front of the deltoids, the triceps, and the pectorals (chest muscles). If you reverse your hand position (point your fingers toward your toes) and place your hands closer to your feet, your biceps muscles will kick in as well.
3. From Plank, move into Side Plank, back to Plank, and then to Side Plank on the other side. Side Plank helps build stability in the shoulders and strength in the triceps. If possible, repeat the sequence several times.
Alisa Bauman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.