Yoga Plank Pose for Arms & Upper Body Strength

Yoga Plank Position

Yoga Pose to Strengthen Arms & Back

Plank Pose is a yoga position which, in general, women find a bit more challenging than men to do.  Especially, if they have not consciously developed their upper body strength.  So if you looking to tone up your arms, as well as strengthen your back and spine, this pose is perfect for you.  Plank pose is simple enough for beginners to do and is a good way to balance your yoga workout by adding some upper body work into it.

Plank position is a fundamental yoga pose, and is part of most schools of yoga.  Here on Mastery of Meditation & Yoga, it will be part of the following 2 free online e-books: Free Hatha Yoga Poses & Online Kundalini Yoga Exercises.

There are a few variations to this pose and in the pictures below I am demonstrating a relatively uncommon variation, in which I do the pose with toes extended instead of curled under.  This variation is often used in Kundalini Yoga and is a little more difficult than the basic pose.  I mention some of the other variations in the Practice Tips section below as well.

Yoga Plank Pose for Upper Body Strength

Illustration #1 Basic Yoga Plank Pose

Illustration #2 Kundalini Yoga Plank Pose


 

Yoga Plank Position For Upper Body Strength:

a. Instructions for practicing Yoga Plank Pose:

  • Most of us are familiar with doing push ups, and plank pose is essentially the up position when doing a push up.

  • For plank pose be sure to keep your body in a straight line, like I have demonstrated above.  Don’t allow the butt to sag and the hands should be directly underneath the shoulders.

  • There are also the two typical eye position variations.  You can keep the eyes open and fix your gaze steadily at a point in front of you (typical of Hatha Yoga), or you can do this pose with your eyes closed (kundalini yoga).

  • Breathing is normal, except if you are doing a particular Kundalini Yoga Kriya, which might require you to do Breath of Fire while holding Plank Pose.

b. Duration for Yoga Plank Pose:

  • 15 seconds – 5 minutes.

c. Benefits of Yoga Plank Pose:

  • Strengthens the arms, wrists, shoulders, back and spine.
  • Develops your core strength and abdominal muscles.
  • Tones the triceps.
  • Good for improving your nervous system.

d. Practice Tips for Yoga Plank Pose:

  • Advanced variations of Plank Pose include, lifting one leg up and holding the pose, or lifting one arm up and holding the pose.
  • In the Kundalini Yoga variation, the toes are kept extended as show in illustration #2.  This can put more pressure on the lower back, so be careful when using this version.

Online Kundalini Yoga Kriyas Using Yoga Plank Pose:

  1. You can add Plank Pose to your yoga routine to help develop your upper body strength and use the article, 6 Guidelines on How to Create Yoga Sets to help you.

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12 replies
  1. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hey Ruby,

    Great to hear of the level of strength and fitness you have developed. I was speaking based on experience from teaching yoga classes, sorry if you were offended.

    According to Kundalini Yoga, there is actually an anatomical difference between women and men. Women are considered 16 times stronger than men, from a bio-chemical and nerve strength perspective, which is also what yoga considers to be “real” strength. Us poor guys have quite a handicap to make up :-).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  2. Ruby
    Ruby says:

    I find the opening statement statement a little insulting and unnecessarily discouraging: “…women find a bit more challenging than men to do. Especially, if they have not consciously developed their upper body strength.” Women are constantly told that we can’t do things because we are well… women. So of course we can’t do pullups, because we never believed that we could, and hence, we don’t even try. I can beat just about any guy I know in a pushup contest (except for the Navy seals and my buddy who teaches Martial Arts) because I practice them. It’s not because I have some extra man-hormone in me. I’d love to see a less gendered explanation of how these poses work. In cases where anatomy TRULY affects a pose, then by all means, mention it, but let go of your stereotypes. They may exist for a reason, but perpetuating them doesn’t actually help. Students will rise to the level of expectation. If you tell a woman not to expect to do this pose for very long, then she won’t.

    Reply
  3. Health and Fitness
    Health and Fitness says:

    Great way for meditation and Yoga to be combined can be Tai Chi, I knew a master whom taught one to shut of conscious thought at the same time they could help your subconcsious ease the muscles, which works well with Yoga!

    Some slow music and no disturbances is also essential

    Reply
  4. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Gautam,

    TZ has indicated the basics of visualization meditation. Slowing down the breath and mind, when doing such visualizations allow for the meditation to be more effective. It can be practiced by anyone.

    I will put together a more detailed article on this. But basically, lie down, start to breathe slowly, deeply and fully. Then leaving the breath alone, start to visualize that which you wish to have happen, or use the technique of a white light entering various parts of the body for healing those areas.

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  5. Priya Shankaran
    Priya Shankaran says:

    Sir,
    came across your site while looking for yoga poses and found quite a few to be useful. i happened to see this pic and would like to know the name of the saint pictured on this page (in the orange picture). thankyou.
    sincerely,
    Priya.

    Reply
  6. TZ
    TZ says:

    Visualization meditation is using the power of your imagination to visualize a particular thing, environment or situation. You can, for example, visualize yourself as being strong and confident with your boss, or visualize a peaceful place just to rest and feel better.
    BTW, closing your eyes is not always necessary to practice visualization ;)

    Reply
  7. Gautam
    Gautam says:

    Hello ji,

    Kudos to you and the great work you are doing on the site. I had heard from some friends about the technique of meditation called “Visualization Meditation” and also saw it on your site once. Could you please tell me what this is and how i can practice it so that it will be effective in my life? does it real work for people on this plane of consciousness or do you have to be more spiritually advanced to make it happen for you?
    thankyou very much.

    Reply

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