Strength Training for Yogis: Presses for Upper Body Strength

Building stability in the shoulder girdle has a huge carryover to strengthening our yoga poses.

Flexible and strong shoulders are an important part of your yoga practice. The shoulders provide support in downward facing dog and vinyasa flows and help us stand strong in poses like warrior I and warrior II.

Presses translate directly to strength and stability in the shoulder girdle and have huge carryover for the yoga poses we practice most often. The two pressing exercises I detail below – strict presses and push presses – form a foundation for more advanced movements like the push jerk and split jerk.

The strict press is a controlled movement that builds raw strength and stability in the shoulders. The push press uses leg power so you can move heavier weight. Add both exercises to your training to build strength and stability.

5 Steps to a Strong Strict Press

Remember these five performance points for strong strict presses:

  1. Stand with the feet hip distance apart, with the weight in the center of each foot.
  2. Bring the dumbbells slightly outside shoulders with a full grip. Elbows should be slightly forward.
  3. Bring the front ribs down and lock in the core.
  4. Press the dumbbells overhead.
  5. Extend the elbows fully at the top.

Strict press good and bad form.

5 Points of a Powerful Push Press

Here are five points of performance for a powerful push press:

  1. Stand with the feet hip distance apart.
  2. Bring the dumbbells slightly outside the shoulders. Elbows should be slightly forward.
  3. Dip torso straight down.
  4. Legs and hips extend fully, then press. Keep the heels down until you extend.
  5. Keep the core strong while the dumbbells are overhead.

3 Press Building Workouts

When choosing a weight for your presses, start light. Mastering proper technique is crucial. Once you feel comfortable with the mechanics of pressing the weight overhead, give workout #1 a go. Start with a lighter weight and increase the weight with each set.

For workouts #2 and #3, pick a weight challenges you but also allows you to keep the performance points intact. You can use these three workouts to incorporate presses into your weekly routine.

Warm Up:

  • 100 jumping jacks
  • 5 sun salutations
  • 5 push ups
  • 2x 30-second plank or handstand hold
  • 10 arm circles (each side, each way)
  • 5 sun salutations
  • 100 jumping jacks

Workout #1

  • 5×10 dumbbell strict press (increase the weight with each set)

Workout #2

  • 18 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
  • 15 box step ups
  • 12 burpees
  • 9 dumbbell strict press

Workout #3

  • 3 x max effort handstand hold
  • 10 minute AMRAP
  • 10 dumbbell push press
  • 20 sit up
  • 30 squats

You’ll also enjoy:

Leave a Comment

Do Not Sell My Personal Information