How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Dolphin Exercise

The Dolphin is a weighted variation of a classic yoga pose. This version is truly a full-body yoga-with-weights strengthener. The pose reverses the blood flow in your legs, which is good for circulation and reduces bloating and water retention in your ankles, and exercises your hamstrings, calves, and Achilles tendons. The exercise is also an upper-body builder because you have to support your body with your upper half.

Strap on your ankle weights and follow these steps:

  1. Kneel with your elbows below your shoulders, your knees below your hips, you forearms and hands flat on the floor in front of you, and your toes curled onto the floor.

    Spread your fingers wide for support.

    Don’t let your elbows splay out beyond your shoulders. Doing so can make your shoulders roll in, which can cause injury to your rotator cuff.

  2. Press down into your forearms, hands, and the balls of your feet as you lift your buttocks into the air.

    This is the starting position. You should be looking back at your legs. Your head shouldn’t touch the floor at any time; let it dangle between your arms and elbows as you press your wrists and forearms downward.

    Press your hands, wrists, and forearms into the floor for support. Support your body with your shoulders as well as your arms and legs. Feel your armpits lifting toward the ceiling and forward toward your hands.

  3. As you inhale to a count of four, extend your right leg directly behind you so it forms a straight line with your torso.

    If you feel too much stress on your shoulders, press into your hands, wrists, and forearms to put more weight on those areas.

  4. As you exhale to a count of four, slowly lower your leg to the starting position.

Moving your leg slowly is important for your balance. Keep your hips squared; don’t turn or wobble them as you lift and lower your leg.

Do this exercise six to eight times on each leg, pause to rest, and then do another six to eight repetitions on each leg.

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