Do you want to tone your abdominal muscles and are you naturally thinking about core training? It’s a good idea, but we can do better!
Today, we are going to see a variation borrowed from yoga which, in addition to using your abdominals, will involve your chest, your shoulders and your arms.
We are talking about the dolphin pose (or dolphin board) which, in addition to the reinforcement it provides, has other tricks up his sleeve!
Why do dolphin pose?
Also called inverted V sheathing, this yogic posture (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana) promises a full stretch of your posterior chain (especially the hamstrings and calves) and your spine.
It is therefore a extremely complete exercise which however requires a little time to master.
Unlike a classic core workout, you will have to send your glutes towards the ceiling by deeply anchoring your glutes to the ground (which also makes it an ideal variation for people who suffer from wrist pain when core training).
Two options are then available to you, maintain the position or opt for something more active by moving from the dolphin plank to the classic core plank (a mixture of isometric and isotonic contractions).
Let’s summarize, this exercise will:
Strengthen your core by working the abdominals, but also the back muscles and the glutes. When practiced regularly, expect an improvement in your posture and stability. Improve the strength and muscular endurance of your upper body, because casually, the dolphin requires strength in the arms, shoulders and upper back. Improve your sense of balance: because yes, you will need it to hold this posture! Deeply stretch your calves and hamstrings and improve flexibility in your legs. Increase mobility in your shoulders and back. Calm your mind, like all asanas. To do this, you will need to concentrate on your breathing and maintain the position to feel this feeling of inner peace.
As you progress, you will obtain a graceful dolphin that you can transition to other, more advanced postures… we’ll see that at the end.
In a core position on the forearms and knees, start by lifting one knee off the ground, then the other. Engage your abs well and push your buttocks as high as possible, anchoring your forearms deeply in your mat and by contracting your shoulders well (you are in downward facing dog on your forearms, for those who know), Now, you must “walk” towards your pelvis so that your feet are as close to you as possible (keep your back straight), you can keep your knees bent during this step, Straighten your legs to form this inverted V with your body, keep your head neutral.
Keep in mind that this is a intermediate posture and that you will need time and practice to master it.
Once in position, try to hold the dolphin, knowing that the duration will vary depending on the level of experience, strength and flexibility of each person.
More advanced practitioners will be able to incorporate dynamic movements as we will see below.
It is important to listen to your body.
Common mistakes to avoid
During the exercise, make sure your shoulders are well above your elbows. They may be slightly behind, but not forward.
Your elbows should stay parallel throughout the movement. You should have in mind to squeeze them together (of course, they don’t move from the ground), to create some tension.
In the same way, have the will to squeeze your thighs against your pectorals (which will activate your ischios and your abs).
As with all yoga poses, it is important to focus on your breathingthis must be regular and relaxed.
If you have the chance, ask a yoga teacher to talk to you about diaphragmatic breathing.
Your back must always be straightonly extend your legs if this is the case, otherwise you will put too much strain on your lower back.
Concerning the distribution of weight, it must be very fair and not mostly in the shoulderswhich may require some mobility in the hamstrings.
To help with this, you can put your feet further away from you.
You have done well and you are now a magnificent dolphin, well done!
Here are some variations to push the level…
The active dolphin
This involves moving from a low plank position to our dolphin pose.
To do this, always make sure to keep your pelvis neutral and your back straight.
To increase the demand for stability of the movement, nothing prevents you from lifting one leg off the ground…and why not pick it up with the opposite arm as in the video.
We end with something completely badass that will perhaps make you want to take a closer look at yoga!
Well mastered, the dolphin becomes a starting point for serious sequences, as you can see in this video.
A well-known transition among yogists is to bring the feet so close to the head that they are able to move into a handstand!
But some don’t even bother with this intermediary, like the young man above!
Updated by Quentin on: 02/10/2023
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