This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
One of the main things people looking into when getting in shape is how to tone their arms. Even with substantial weight loss, toned arms are a much desired trait, but yet seem so frustrating and difficult to get. But if you read on, you’ll see that they are actually not that hard to obtain- all it takes is a little dedication and consistency.
How long does it take to tone your arms? For most yoga practitioners, it will take about 4 to 8 weeks to see significant improvement in arm tone. Beginners are more likely to see quicker results than advanced yogis or practitioners who visit the gym or play sports.
Even though two months is the average, factors like your body type, your background in sports, and the yoga practice that you do influence how fast your arms will tone up. There is no hard and fast rule for losing fat & gaining muscle.
Here’s How Long it will Take to Tone your Arms
According to strength and conditioning specialist Jon-Erik Kawamoto, you’ll need about four to eight weeks for your muscles to get toned. That’s the average.
Plan two or three days in between each workout. Rest days are important for injury prevention for both beginners and advanced practitioners.
Beginners may see results quickly, sometimes within four weeks of starting a yoga practice that uses the arms. My arm muscles were definitely “beginner-level” even though I’d been practicing yoga for years.
This is because beginners tend to lose initial fat quickly, revealing the muscles underneath. A beginner’s muscles are likely to grow quickly at first, too, because their body naturally wants to move towards its natural equilibrium.
Advanced practitioners take longer to build muscle. They’re already closer to their so-called genetic peak, and unless they’re fitness professionals or yoga teachers themselves, they often don’t have the time to devote to the muscle training that their body would need in order to get even more toned.
Best Yoga Poses to Tone Arms
I’ve worked on numerous yoga poses over the years. Below are five of my favorites for arm toning.
Chaturanga Dandasana/ Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Chaturanga builds shoulder, tricep, bicep, and chest strength. It’s basically a yogic pushup. You can modify your chaturanga by dropping your knees to the floor, then practicing the motion of lowering down & pushing up. This pose is a top strength-builder if you want toned arms.
Adho Mukha Svanasana/ Downward Facing Dog
Downward Dog tones your arms because you’re pushing off the floor with your hands in order to stay static in the pose. Remember to squeeze your triceps in towards your face and roll the outer shoulders towards the floor for ultimate arm toning.
Ardha Pincha Mauyrasana/ Dolphin Pose
Dolphin pose is what happens if you brought your elbows to the floor in downward facing dog. Press your forearms against the floor and bring your chest towards your feet to emphasize the arm action. Dolphin is a great stability builder for the smaller muscles of the arms and back, too.
Modified Lolasana/ Pendant Pose
Lolasana’s a seated arm balance where you cross your legs, then round your shoulders & press your hands next to your hips to lift your body off the floor. Place a block next to each of your hips to give yourself a boost to get off the ground in this arm-toning champ of a pose.
Urdhva Danurasana/ Upward Facing Bow
While Urdhva Danurasana may look advanced, there are plenty of modifications newer yogis can do to get the arm-toning benefits.
- Place two yoga blocks longways against the wall.
- Put a bolster or couch cushion under your back for height.
- Then, lie down on your cushion with your head between the blocks, heels towards buttocks, palms down on the blocks.
- Push through your glutes, legs, and hands to go up.
Over time, working on this modified version will tone not only your arms, but also your legs, back, and glutes.
Best Types of Yoga to Get Toned Arms
Certain types of yoga emphasize the arms a lot – that’s why my arms started looking toned when I started an Ashtanga practice.
- If you’re new to yoga, I’d recommend trying out a power yoga class at your local studio help build your arm tone. These classes often incorporate moves like high plank, chaturanga pushups, and adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog). You can build strength quickly in these classes.
- If you’ve been practicing yoga regularly for a few months or more, try an Ashtanga yoga guided class, or an Ashtanga-inspired Vinyasa flow class. Ashtanga is a difficult – and extremely rewarding – fixed sequence of poses that will give your arms a workout. Ashtanga’s much more challenging than other types of yoga because it requires both flexibility & strength. You’ll get toned arms within weeks.
- Another excellent arm-toning style of yoga is Iyengar. Iyengar uses many classical poses that require the arms. It is taught in a way that gradually builds arm strength to prepare the practitioner for more advanced postures.
Class types that won’t boost your arm tone are gentle classes and yin/restorative classes. These will relax you instead. They’re a great option after you’ve done an arm-blasting power yoga workout, though!
How often should I practice yoga to get toned arms?
Practice an arm-toning yoga practice 2 to 3 times per week to start getting toned arms.
For most people, working their arms every day isn’t the best way to lean out. Our muscles actually break down when we train them, and they need a day or two to rebuild and strengthen.
This is especially true for beginners in practice. Their body needs to adjust. But don’t wait too long, because only working your arms once a week isn’t going to make a difference in the long term.
Overall, consistency is key. You’re more likely to get and keep toned arms from going twice a week on a regular basis than you are from going five times in a row, then burning out and never going again. Developing a habit out of you yoga practice is one of the hardest parts, but one of the main factors to achieving success!
Our body needs repeated reminders to grow.
How Your Body Type Influences Your Arm Tone
We all know that we’re stronger, thinner, or rounder than the people around us. We’re all different. This influences how quickly our muscles get lean and toned in a yoga practice, too.
There are 3 main body types that people generally fit into:
- Ectomorph people have long, slim limbs and don’t store a lot of fat. These yogis often start to look super toned, even when they’re relatively weak, because of their low fat-to-muscle ratio. It can be hard for them to gain weight or muscle unless they work extra hard.
- Mesomorph people are well-built with medium-sized limbs, relatively low fat, and broad shoulders. Their body type adapts quickly to gain muscle and burns fat.
- Endomorphs have larger bones and tend to carry fat instead of muscle on their frame. These people take longer to show toned muscle on their arms. Their body type can carry an insane amount of muscle without looking toned – these people can be super strong!
Knowing which type you are can help you make better decisions about your yoga practice. A curvy endomorph would likely benefit from a cardio-based yoga practice, while an ectomorph a slower, strength-based practice with long holds.
The great thing about yoga is that anyone can do it, no matter their age or body type. Understanding your body is a first step towards deepening your practice.
Can you tone your arms without using weights?
Yoga is an ultimate arm toning sport that doesn’t use any weights! Yoga exercises grow muscle while blasting through any hidden fat.
For example, practicing five Sun Salutations every day for two weeks is sure to help you tone your arms. They involve both chaturanga dandasana and adho mukha svanasana, major arm strengtheners.
Adding a dolphin pose or two to your next yoga flow will stabilize your shoulders, lean out your core, and grow those arm muscles, too.
Ultimately, very few people have picture-perfect toned arms, and those that do likely still want to improve.
The way you approach your practice is all about feeling better in your body, so that you can be confident and happy in everyday life.
Having toned arms is a gateway to greater growth – once you get them, you’ll already be exploring another aspect of your practice.
Can you work out your arms every day? You can, but be aware that muscles need rest in order to grow. You’ll see the best results from focusing on your arms every 2 or 3 days.
Will push ups tone your arms? Definitely. It’s a similar movement to chaturanga.
Can you tone your arms with yoga if you have a shoulder injury? Work with your doctor to know what’s best for you, and inform the teacher of your restrictions. Remember, the responsibility to nurture and protect yourself lies with you.
Mary McGilvray teaches Iyengar-style Hatha Yoga & Advaita Vedanta meditation techniques inspired by her years studying in India under the great masters. Through her business, Satyaa Consulting LLC she empowers yoga studios to generate more revenue so that their owners have the time & resources to live the life of their dreams.