Who doesn’t like an exercise that has a lot of bang for the buck? In our busy lives, it’s nice to have things that can multitask like we do. This exercise will build upper-body strength and create definition in your arms, shoulders, and upper back. It’s also a fabulous stretch for your whole body.
And the biggest perk to this move — there’s no equipment required!
Down Dog to Build Buff Arms and Shoulders
Instructions for the full position:
- Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Tuck your toes under and lift your knees off the floor and your hips up into a piked position. Make sure your toes are pointed straight ahead.
- Shift your hips backward to allow your back to flatten and your head to sink between your arms. Try to place a small arch in your lower back.
- Keep your elbows straight. More weight should be on your thumbs and index fingers.
- Once your back is flat, straighten your knees and tighten your thighs, and then let your heels drop toward the floor.
- Focus on breathing into your belly.
- Hold for 1 minute.
There are three stages to working up to the full position described above:
- Stage 1: Back flat, knees bent (push your head through your arms and chest toward the floor)
- Stage 2: Back flat and knees straight (pull your butt and hips up and back)
- Stage 3: Back flat and knees straight with heels to the floor (feet straight, heels to the floor, slightly more pressure on the big toe)
Note: If your back rounds when you straighten your knees stay at Stage 1 until you can progress to Stage 2 without your back going into a rounded position.
Try doing this exercise first thing in morning, or as part of your warm-up and cool-down before and after a workout. Before too long you will build buff arms and shoulders, feel more mobile, and enjoy a mental reset any time you want.