How to do them and 3 variations to build steel core muscles

How to do dolphin planks and why

Woman performing a forearm plank pike with hips elevated in the air and feet down on the mat

The plank version, also referred to as the yoga asana dolphin posture, focuses primarily on strengthening the shoulders and abs. The dolphin plank also extends your lower back, hamstrings, and calves while strengthening your arms, shoulders, chest, and core, just like the yoga pose does. 

The dolphin plank is an effective plank variation if you want to tone your arms, shoulders, and core muscles. However, see a qualified medical expert before trying this if you already have a shoulder issue.

In the section below, we’ll go through how to perform dolphin planks correctly as well as the most typical errors people make when attempting them. We also go over the advantages of dolphin planks and why doing the abs exercise is good for your arms and shoulders. Read on while using one of the best yoga mats.

Dolphin planks: The benefits

The dolphin plank works your arms, shoulders, chest, back, hips, core, and leg muscles much like most other planks do. In contrast to a standard plank, you will push through your elbows while sending your hips backward to take the weight off your legs.

By moving your feet in your direction, you can get from the dolphin posture to the headstand in yoga. In a manner similar to a pike push-up but with your elbows forced down instead, you will redistribute the weight towards your upper body and over your shoulders by raising your hips. This exercises the shoulders and core while stretching the backs of the legs. 

With a combination of isometric and isotonic contraction, which keeps your muscles under tension while stretching and contracting (isotonic), you can decide to hold the posture or switch between dolphin plank and forearm For sets and repetitions, alternate between a plank and a forearm plank. 

Here, you may read additional information about the plank exercise in general and the muscles it targets. 

Dolphin planks: How to do them

If your hamstrings are tight, gently bending your knees will help release stress from the backs of your legs. Keep your spine long and avoid a rounded back posture.  


  • Engage your abs, glutes, quads, and shoulders as you begin in a forearm plank posture.
  • Your weight should be supported by the balls of your feet while you bring your heels toward the mat and push your hips back and upward.
  • Squeeze your shoulders while keeping your forearms firmly planted on the mat. Next, join your hands behind your head in a prayer position.
  • Place your head on the mat between your elbows if you’d like.
  • Lift your head off the floor while maintaining a slight pelvic tuck to make the maneuver more difficult.

Dolphin planks: 3 common mistakes

At Tom’s Guide, we set a goal for ourselves to try as many plank variations as we can for our best plank variations guide (some more agonizing than others); this is one of the finest abdominal and shoulder muscle tamers we enjoy most, but it’s also simple to do incorrectly. Here are a few typical errors. Excessively taxing the upper body. Your arms shouldn’t carry too much weight during the activity. To evenly distribute your weight between your head and feet, tuck your hips in and back up. Many individuals lay their heads on the mat while practicing, which is acceptable provided you can keep your neck neutral. provided at all possible, however, attempt to lift your head.

avoiding breathing

Remember to breathe during any workout because not doing so could cause your blood pressure to rise. Instead of breathing with your chest, practice stretching your stomach and sending your breath toward your diaphragm. Breathe in and out consciously. 

Check your positioning

If you opt for the active dolphin, which involves switching between the forearm plank and the dolphin pose, maintain your pelvis tucked in, bring your hips down toward the floor, and press your shoulders forward over your elbows. Maintain a straight back, then shift your weight between your hands and feet while moving your hips backward.

Dolphin planks: 3 variations to try

energetic dolphin

As previously said, you might give the ab form of the active dolphin exercise a try. This exercise adds mild movement to the plank exercise, which helps to stretch and strengthen your hips and legs.

Raise one leg.

Lift one leg off the ground behind you to advance the workout and practice the tripod balance stance. 

Step with your feet nearer to your elbows.

Try walking both feet closer to your elbows and lifting your hips higher to deepen the stretch in your legs and put more strain on your core and shoulder muscles.

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