5 Yoga Poses for Strong Shoulders

Decrease your risk for injury and build shoulder strength with these five yoga poses

Pixabay/marymccraft

Forearm Downward Facing Dog Pose

Did you know that exercisers who regularly lift weights injure their shoulders more often than any other part of the body?

The complicated nature of the shoulder joint makes injuries in the area difficult to diagnose and treat. But the good news is that aside from following proper training techniques, you can use yoga to practice injury-prevention and decrease your risk for a shoulder injury.

And if the injury prevention aspect isn’t reason enough to supplement your exercise routine with yoga (especially these poses for your shoulders), then maybe the fact that yoga also provides a long list of other health and fitness benefits will help to further convince you.

For instance, if you have weight loss goals, yoga is a great way not only to burn calories, but it can also help you to curb food cravings by strengthening your mind-body connection. Plus, yoga has the ability to reduced your cortisol levels (a hormone that is associated with stress and immune system suppression), improve your cognitive functions and lower your stress levels.

Whatever your fitness goals may be, you can use the following shoulder-strengthening yoga exercises to help build strength and stability around the joint.

-Yoga Poses for Strong Shoulders-

1. Downward Facing Dog to High Plank
Start in downward facing dog. Keep your core tight and your hands and feet in place as you slowly roll forward through your shoulders to high plank position. Hold the plank for two to three breaths before reversing the movement and returning to down dog. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.


High Plank Position

2. Alternating Side Planks
Start in high plank position. Keep your core tight as you slowly roll over to your right side, using your right arm for support. Hold the side plank for two to three breaths before returning to the high plank position and repeating the movement on your left side. Alternate between a right and left side plank for 10 to 15 reps.


Side Plank Position

3. Plank Walk-Ups
Start in high plank position. Keep your core tight and your spine neutral as you slowly lower down onto your right forearm and then your left. Hold the forearm plank for one or two breaths before using your arms to “walk” back up to the high plank position, leading with your right arm. Repeat this sequence for 10 to 15 reps, alternating between leading with your right and left arm.  

4. Downward Facing Dog to Forearm Downward Facing Dog
Start in downward facing dog. Hold for two to three breaths before slowly lowering down to your forearms (see photo at top of this page). Hold here for two to three breaths before lifting back up to your palms for full downward facing dog. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

5. Alternating Forearm Side Planks
Start in a forearm plank.  Keep your core tight and your right forearm planted firmly on the ground as you slowly roll over to your right side, using your right arm for support. Hold the forearm side plank for two to three breaths before returning to the starting position and repeating the movement on your left side. Alternate between right and left forearm side planks for 10 to 15 reps.

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