How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Dog to Plank Exercise - dummies

How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Dog to Plank Exercise

By Sherri Baptiste, Megan Scott

The Dog to Plank is a powerful upper-body strengthener. This yoga-with-weights exercise gives you overall strength benefits, which is why you find it in more than one workout. It sculpts and tones the entire trunk of your body and also works your buttocks. Along with the strength benefits, the Dog to Plank gives you an endurance exercise with aerobic benefits, and it develops your ability to concentrate.

Think the title of the exercise is funny? Well, as you do this exercise, think of how a dog stretches after waking up from a nap, and imagine what your dog is thinking as he watches you.

Make sure you have your ankle weights on, and follow these steps:

  1. Begin on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders, your knees directly underneath your hips, and your toes planted on the ground.

    Spread your fingers wide for support.

  2. Move into the downward-facing dog position by lifting your hips and buttocks as you straighten your legs, bring your thighs back, and move your heels toward the floor.

    Your ears should be between your arms. Draw your belly in and up and your tailbone down for support.

  3. As you inhale to a count of four, lift your right leg up as high as you can without twisting your hip open.

    This is the starting position. Push your leg straight back, and flex your foot to keep it fully engaged — it shouldn’t be limp.

  4. As you exhale to a count of four, bring the trunk of your body forward so that your shoulders are over your wrists.

    You’re in the plank position. Keep your lifted leg parallel to the floor if you’re strong enough; otherwise, tap your toe on the floor. You should feel your abdominal and arm muscles working.

    Don’t bend your elbows; support your weight through your shoulders and across your back without using your chest muscles.

  5. As you inhale to a count of four, return to the starting position.

    Don’t lunge backward. Be patient, and move in rhythm with your breathing.

You can do this exercise without ankle weights if you have too much trouble.

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