There’s a common misconception that working out your chest (or anything for that matter!) has to take a huge chunk out of your day. The reality is, if you have a mat, a patch of floor, and a space where you won’t be interrupted for a short while, you are ready to go!
Chest day is probably most guys’ favorite day in the gym, but ladies there is no fear in working your chest. Why? Because it can actually help perk up the girls! Yes, you heard me — developing the pectoral muscles can help bring a small natural lift. Pectoral exercises also naturally engage the triceps. That fated area most women refer to as ‘the second wave.’ You know, when you wave hello or goodbye at someone and your skin waves along with your hand. Two good reasons to give these poses a try.
First and foremost let me bust a myth for everyone. That second wave we all have is actually just the muscle in its most relaxed state, so we can’t get rid of it completely but we can definitely firm it up! Bummer I know, but trust me you’ll get sexy arms without ever having to pick up a weight in the gym by combining your yoga and workout routine.
Chest Flow Part 1: Flow With It
This routine is more of a vinyasa flow to really work up that repetition, sweat, and feel the burn! Pay attention to your body and don’t be afraid to take a break if you feel you need to take something slow.
1. Adho Mukha Svānāsana (Downward Facing Dog)
- Begin on all fours with your knees hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart. Stack your hips over your knees and your shoulders over your wrists. Walk your hands a few inches in front of your shoulders. Curl your toes under, lift your hips, and straighten your legs. Push into your palms and fingers to draw more energy into your lower body to help elevate your pelvis. Press down evenly with all 10 fingers. Keep your arms straight and rotate your outer upper arms inward to broaden your back. Draw the front of your rib cage in and press your legs back. Extend your heels away from your toes and pull them toward the floor.
- Hold for 10 breaths. Your main focus here is to firm your triceps.
For More Support: Use a strap, shoulder width apart placed just above the elbows. Press your triceps into the strap.
2. Utthita Chaturanga Dandāsana (Plank Pose)
- From Adho Mukha Svānāsana, bring your chest forward until your arms are perpendicular to the floor and your shoulders are stacked over your wrists. Firm your triceps and your shoulders blades down your back by pressing the ground away. Draw your navel to spine. Draw your tailbone towards your heels and firm your thighs. Lengthen from crown of the head to the heels and gaze at the floor.
Hold for five breaths. Your focus here will be not only be your triceps but your chest. Constantly pressing the ground away will keep building your chest. If you are using a strap, keep the same pressure.
3. Chaturanga Dandāsana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
- From Utthita Chaturanga Dandāsana, legs are straight, hands underneath the shoulders. Extend your gaze forward and keep your front ribs in as you bend your elbows at a 90-degree angles. Keep your elbows in next to your rib cage and over your wrists, and lower your shoulders in line with your elbows. Keep your gaze extended and your shoulders lifted. Keep your upper back broad and the tips of your shoulder blades drawn down your back.
- Hold for five steady breaths. This is putting full emphasis on your triceps and chest. Be sure you don’t dip in your shoulders or low back. If you are using the strap: don’t rely on the strap to hold your chest up. Do your best to support yourself and press those triceps into the strap.
Modification: Come to your knees before lowering down into Chaturanga.
4. Ūrdhva Mukha Svānāsana (Upward Facing Dog)
- From Chaturanga Dandasana, lower yourself all the way to the floor. Rest the tops of your feet on the floor. Press all ten toes into the floor and engage your legs, rotating your inner thighs up to broaden your lower back. Press into both your palms to lift everything off the floor except for the tops of your feet and palms. Drop your hips and keep your legs straight as you lift your chest straight up. Roll your shoulders back and draw your chest through the gateway of your arms. Keep your arms straight, distributing your weight equally among all your fingers. Gaze forward or upward.
- Hold for five breaths. After working your chest we are going to open it up while still simultaneously working your triceps. If you are using the strap: keep on pressing into it.
Modification: If this hurts your lower back, come down too where it is comfortable.
BONUS: Turn It Round
- Do every step in reverse now. Lowering back down into Chaturanga Dandāsana, press into Utthita Chaturanga Dandāsana, then back into Adho Mukha Svānāsana. That’s one round.
- You will repeat all these steps four more times! (Yay!!!)
Chest Flow Part 2: Let’s Talk Triceps
5. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
From Adho Mukha Svanāsana, bend your knees and slowly lower yourself down to the floor. Untuck your toes and rest your bottom on your heels. Relax the back of your neck.
- Rest here for 10 breaths.
6. Utthita Chaturanga Dandāsana to Vasisthāsana (Plank to Side Plank)
- Rise up into Utthita Chaturanga Dandāsana. Shift your weight onto your right hand and outer edge of your foot. Lift your left hand up as your rotate your torso. You can keep your feet there or stack them on top of each other.
- Hold for three breaths. The transitions between these poses help firm your triceps and chest, as well as challenge your core.
- Rotate back to Utthita Chaturanga Dandāsana then to Vasisthāsana on your left side. Holding each āsana for three breaths. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Amp It Up: While in Vasisthāsana lift your top leg for more balance.
7. Dolphin Pose
- From Utthita Chaturanga Dandāsana, lower your forearms to the ground shoulder width apart, palms facing down. Tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back like you would in Adho Mukha Svānāsana. Adding a little extra, press through your palms and lift your elbows off the ground into Downward Facing Dog, and slowly lower yourself back down.
- Repeat these Dolphin Presses five times, really working those triceps. You are more than welcome to use the strap for added support.
Wrapping It Up
Your arms and chest may be upset with you the next day so be sure to do some easy stretching and opening poses. The best ones for triceps are Gomukhāsana (Cow Faced Pose) and Garudāsana (Eagle Pose), and for chest you’d want Bitilāsana (Cow Pose), Bhujangāsana (Cobra Pose) or Uttana Shishosāna (Extended Puppy Dog Pose). It will be especially helpful to stretch out your chest after all those Chaturangas. Once you feel sufficiently stretched, lay yourself down for a nice restful Śavāsana to reap the rewards of your practice!
I hope you enjoyed this fun flow! If you did, make sure you take a peek at the leg flow that’s a part of this series! Do you know of any other poses that make you feel the burn in the triceps or chest? Any poses or flows you’d like to take a closer look at? Let me know in the comments. See you back here next week for poses that explore your back and biceps!