Arm Strength and Ashiatsu

What kind of arm strength is needed for an ashiatsu practitioner?

The power and pressure during an ashiatsu sessions is a gift from the fantastic laws of gravity, plus some core and leg/hip strength.

The arms are used mainly to maintain balance during the massage(by using the overhead bars). The bars are a guide and valuable tool during the massage, but rarely are used to hold the therapists whole body weight during the massage (especially for beginners).  Arms, shoulders, and hands should be relaxed during the massage, but ready to grab that bar, or grasp it a little tighter,  quickly when extra balance is needed.  Even though the bars are built hold more than the practitioners weight, a practitioner does not hang from the bars.

So, why arm exercises today?

Two reasons…

Fluidity and Slight Pressure Changes

Even though gravity is doing much of the work, arm strength will help keep the massage smooth and ease transitions. You may also find that you use the arms to lighten up pressure (by pulling up/back at the end of a stroke) or to apply deeper pressure (by pushing up on the bars).

Preparing for the “next step”

You should work to develop your arm strength so that you can advance your ashiatsu skills as you become more proficient in the future. After you have developed you one-footed skills, you want to move onto some “advanced, two-footed skills (where there may be more pressure on the client). If that happens, or is a goal of yours, you absolutely will need more upper arm strength.

Today, I picked a Pilates workout to help those of you looking to build your arm strength now.

I could have done without the music in the background, but this arm workout is great and requires no weights!

Keep this up, and your arm strength should improve in time for some advanced ashiatsu strokes.

About Ivy

Thank you for reading this post! In addition to writing here at, I write about more general massage topics at Massage & Bloggywork, as well as teach massage continuing education at Advanced Massage Techniques.


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