If you've mastered the basic Bound Headstand, you're ready to explore this inversion in new ways. Here are eight variations to try the next time you find yourself upside down.
Put down those dumbbells! Weight training isn't the only way to tone your muscles. The next time you need to work your abs, arms, and legs, do these three yoga-inspired strength-training moves.
Here's a variation on plank that'll give you a chiseled upper body and core you can't wait to show off.
- Begin in Quarter Dog. Press your hips and shoulders back toward your feet, lengthening through your spine. If you can, try to press your heels down toward the ground to stretch through your calves and hamstrings. Tilt your tailbone up slightly to feel a stretch in your lower back.
- Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, dive forward, coming into Dolphin Plank position. Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulders, so your body is parallel with the ground. If this is too difficult, rest one or both knees on the floor.
- Inhale back to the start position. Repeat Dolphin Dive for three sets of 20 reps.
Keep reading to learn how to do Backbend Push-Ups and Headstand Crunches.
The plank is one of the best multitasking moves to work your abs, your arms, and your back all at once. If you vary the basic plank, then you'll have a whole slew of different exercises to target every inch of your body. Here are eight variations to bring about a stronger, more toned you.
Having started her career as a ballerina, Zoe Saldana takes her workouts seriously. And the actress swears by The Moyer Method, created by trainer Steve Moyer. Her sculpted shoulders continue to wow us, so we asked Steve to share her upper-body workout with us. Watch the video to learn the four exercises, and then give them a try.
Do your push-ups need a push? Here are three advanced variations that effectively tone your upper body and core.
Creepy Crawly Push-Up
- Come into plank position. As you bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your torso toward the floor, bend your left knee and touch it to your left elbow.
- As you straighten your arms, come back to plank position with your left foot next to your right. Now lower your torso and touch your right knee to your right elbow. Then return back to plank position.
- This counts as one repetition. Complete three rounds of 10 reps.
Push-Up With Tuck Crunch
- Place your belly on a ball and walk your hands out so the ball is under your shins. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your chest to the floor, doing a push-up.
- Straighten your arms and draw your knees forward into your chest. This will send your pelvis upward and bring the ball closer to your face.
- Extend your legs straight back.
- This counts as one repetition. Complete three rounds of 15 reps.
BOSU Ball Push-Ups
- Come into plank position with your hands balanced on a BOSU ball.
- Bend your elbows out to the sides, lowering your torso into a push-up, and then straighten the arms.
- This counts as one repetition. Complete three rounds of 15 reps.
This Cirque du Soleil yoga pose may look out of your league, but with a little trick under your capris, you too can master this bold and beautiful arm balance. It's all in your approach, so follow these step-by-step moves and you'll be Side-Crowing it in no time.
- Most people get into this pose from a Wide Squat position, but here's the trick: start in a Seated Twist with your right knee up and your left heel pulled in close to your right hip. Bend your left elbow and press it firmly against your outer right thigh, twisting to the right.
- After five breaths, keep your upper body twisting to the right as you press your right elbow into the top of your outer right thigh, just below the hip.
- Tip your torso down toward the ground, planting your palms on the floor. Your right foot will lift up, but your knees will remain crossed. Make sure to spread the fingers wide and shift weight forward into your fingertips to take pressure off your wrists.
- Lean the weight of your outer right thigh into your elbows, thinking of your arms as the legs of a table and your thigh as the tabletop. Slowly lift your left foot off the floor, uncrossing your legs, stacking your left knee on top of your right, and balancing on your palms in Side Crow.
- Get strong in the pose, lifting both feet high so your calves are parallel to the floor. Gaze at your toes, holding for five breaths, and then gently release your feet to the floor. Repeat Seated Twist and Side Crow on the left side.
After mastering Side Crow, here's a yoga sequence to help you do two advanced variations called Straight Legs Side Crow and Scissor Legs Side Crow.
If your dream wedding dress has you hoping to show off shapely shoulders and buff biceps, starting a simple upper-body routine now will help get you there by your big day. These four moves are effective for sculpting your upper body, and since you don't need any equipment to do them, you can make them part of your daily morning routine. In a few weeks you'll notice that your shoulders, arms, and back are ready to be shown off in your strapless wedding dress in style!
Triceps can be hard to tone, so it makes sense to focus on them if you are aiming for a strapless look. To work your triceps without weights:
- Stand with feet parallel about a foot apart. Bend your knees as you fold your torso forward.
- Bend your elbows and lift them up behind you, and roll your shoulder blades down your back.
- Keeping your upper arms still, straighten your elbows so your arms are parallel with the ground, then return to your starting position to complete one rep. Repeat this motion for 10 to 15 total reps, keeping your elbows lifted for the whole exercise.
- Keeping your elbows extended, make tiny lifts up toward the ceiling with straight arms. Do this for 10 reps, keeping your shoulders drawn down away from your ears.
- From here, rotate your palms up to face the ceiling and then rotate your palms back to face each other. Finish approximately 10 full rotations.
- With your palms still facing the ceiling, bend your elbows toward your ears on a flat plane, then straighten them back behind you. Complete 10 to 15 reps to finish.
Drop and do as many of these as you can; you'll notice your biceps and shoulders getting more definition in no time.
- Start in the plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your body in one straight line; separate your feet so they're about shoulder-width apart to help you stay balanced throughout the exercise. Lower your knees to the floor if you need to.
- Place your hands together directly under your sternum, with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs touching. Your fingers and thumbs should form a diamond or triangle shape.
- As you inhale, bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your chest toward the floor. Then exhale to straighten your arms. This counts as one push-up.
- Complete as many push-ups as you can in one minute.
Looking for a two-for-one move? Try this abs and triceps variation using a stability ball! Although this is a triceps move, your abs are fully engaged to keep you balanced, allowing you to work two areas at once; feeling the burn in your entire upper body.
For directions on how to do this multitasking move, read more
The almighty push-up is one of the most effective ways to strengthen and tone your upper body and core. It's extremely challenging, though, so if you're new to strength training or are coming back from an injury or pregnancy, here are three ways you can modify the basic push-up.
- Grab a ball: Elevating your feet can take some of the weight out of your upper body. Lie your belly on a ball and roll forward so your shins are resting on the top of the ball, and do your push-ups in this position. If resting your legs on an unstable ball is too much of a challenge, place your feet on a stool or low bench.
- Knee push-ups: Instead of holding your body in one straight line, rest one knee or both knees on the ground.
- Use a wall: Facing a wall, stand about three feet away. Reach your arms out, placing your palms on the wall in push-up position. Bend and straighten your elbows, doing a push-up on the wall as if doing a push-up on the floor. If this is too hard, step closer toward the wall. If it's too easy, take a step or two back and lower your hands so your body is in one straight line.