Displaying your prowess with dumbbells is as dated as taking a Tae Bo class. Now there's a more refined way to command cred: the yoga arm balance—more specifically, poses like crow, crane, firefly, lifted lotus, and eight-angle pose (pictured), which require equal parts strength and balance and which increasingly connote alpha-male status.
"At first, men hid in the back of my classes," says Arnold Patricio, a yoga instructor at Equinox in New York City. "Now they're in the front and sometimes outnumber the women." And they're marking their territory. "Before class," Patricio says, "I'll have guys go into a handstand, sort of announcing, 'Look what I can do.'" Mandy Ingber, a Los Angeles instructor whose clientele includes Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Beckinsale, and Woody Harrelson, says, "Males are attracted to the arm balances because of the strength and skill. It's an accomplishment."
The practice requires more than muscle to master, which is why it's the most fetishized move of the moment. "Arm balances, like crow, which I'd consider the base pose, are about leverage and balance," says Nadia Zaki, whose arm-balance classes at Equinox attract a largely male clientele. "I have a guy in my class who can probably kettlebell-press all of Russia, but he can't do crow pose."
The Power Move: Eight-Angle Pose
Sit with legs in diamond shape in front of you, soles of feet together. Lift and cradle right calf in front of chest with both arms, elbows bent, palms facing body, foot flexed. Grab right heel with right hand, left hand under right calf, and lift and hook right leg over right shoulder. Place left palm on floor outside of left leg and press into floor to lift butt slightly, then place right palm on floor in front of you. Lift left leg and cross left ankle over right, feet flexed. Use abs to lift butt and torso slightly forward, straightening legs out to right side.
3 Moves That Will Make You Arm-Balance Ready
Single Knee Plank
Start in downward-facing dog, then lift right leg to ceiling (three-legged dog), keeping hips facing forward. Shift forward to plank pose, bringing right knee into chest, back slightly rounded, palms pressing body away from floor, abs engaged, toes pointed. Hold for 3 breaths, then press back into three-legged dog. Repeat 5 times.
Start in downward-facing dog, then lower forearms to floor, elbows directly under shoulders, and walk feet in a few inches toward head, pressing heels toward floor. Hold for 3 breaths, then lower knees to floor to relax. Repeat 3 times.
Lie face-up, right leg extended about 3 inches off floor, left knee bent 90 degrees, hands behind head, right elbow touching left knee. Moving slowly and with control, switch sides, rotating torso to right, extending left leg out in front of you and bending right leg 90 degrees, touching left elbow to right knee for 1 rep. Do 10 reps slowly. Repeat 3 times.