How to Sculpt Your Arms Fast: Just Say “Chaturanga”

I recently read about an Australian study, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, that asked men to watch 96 videos of women aged 20 to 49 years and rate the women’s looks. (Um, research study or Friday night at the frat house?). The results found that women with long, shapely arms ranked most attractive; in fact, toned arms scored higher than a woman’s breasts, leg length or butt. Shedding even more light on the enlightened study, Professor Robert Brooks (I know, I’m shocked the lead researcher is male) said, “Attractive bodies have a suite of traits in the right combination.” Well, I’ll be darned.

While I question the point of such research, I agree that toned arms—on a man or a woman—are hot. And the good news is that arms respond relatively quickly to muscle conditioning. In my opinion, the fastest way to build buff arms and sculpted shoulders (not to mention great abs) is by doing the “chaturanga” yoga move or tricep push-ups. I used to incorporate these push-ups into all my Pilates classes—they’re effective and efficient. Now that I’ve been doing more yoga, I’ve noticed even more of a difference in my arms. (I used to think Madonna was secretly bench-pressing her yogi whenever she credited her sinewy arms to yoga, but perhaps I was wrong.)

However, since push-ups are often done incorrectly, which not only leads to sub-par results but to shoulder and wrist injuries, I enlisted Calgary yoga instructor Genevieve Levesque to demonstrate the move and provide step-by-step instructions. Knock out 6-8 of these three times a week, and in as little as a month you’ll be sporting guns like Gen’s and Pippa’s or Ryan “rock solid” Gosling’s.

Get into "plank": place hands under shoulders, spread fingers and gaze slightly forward. Pull in abs, engage thighs and flex feet. If this is too challenging, lower to knees.

From plank, bend elbows to 90 degrees, so torso is aligned with upper arms. Keep abs pulled in. Press up to plank or continue with following moves to complete sequence.

Flip toes and draw chest forward as you straighten arms. Keep gaze forward, elbows soft, abs and glutes relaxed, and knees lifted. (Skip this move if you feel back pain or strain.)

Curl toes under and press hips up into "downward dog" (body forms an inverted "V"). Keep ears aligned with upper arms as you press heels down (if necessary, bend knees to keep spine long). Rest, or shift forward to plank to repeat sequence.

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Posted on October 18, 2011, in Fitness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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