Forearm Plank, also known as Dolphin Plank, or Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana, is a full body exercise that tones your core, arms, and legs.
Energetically, this asana provides an opportunity for grounding, strengthening, and intense attention. This is a great asana to practice to build up the heat in your core to burn your entire body at the beginning of class and take you through your entire session. You can use any variation of this pose as a quick stand-alone practice when you have only one or two minutes for yoga.
|Known as:||Forearm Plank Pose, Dolphin Plank Pose, Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana, Plank Pose II Dolphin Arms, Phalakasana II|
|Sanskrit name:||मकरअधोमुख श्वानासन|
|IAST:||Makāra Adho Mukha Śvānāsana|
|Pronunciation:||MAH-kar-ah ah-doh-moo-kuh SVAH-NAH-sah-nah|
|Focus:||Arm, wrists, core, abdominal, back, spine, leg|
|Total Time:||60 to 120 seconds|
|Strengthens:||Core, Arm, Legs|
|Stretches:||Shoulder, Hamstring, Calf, Arches of the foot|
|Counterposes:||Child’s pose (Balasana), Cobra pose (Bhujangasana), Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)|
|Preparatory pose:||Phalakasana (Adho Mukha Dandasana, or Plank pose), High lunge (Crescent Moon Pose, or Ashwa Sanchalanasana, or Anjaneyasana), Sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)|
|Follow-up pose:||Salabhasana (Purna Salabhasana, or Locust pose, or Grasshopper pose), Boat pose (Paripurna Navasana), Pigeon pose (Rajakapotasana), Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)|
|Indications:||Concentration, abdominal muscles, back muscles, digestion, circulation, respiratory system|
|Contraindications:||High blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder, back, arm, or neck injury, infection in the eye or inner ear|
Benefits of Forearm Plank or Dolphin Plank Pose
You will also notice that posture helps with stamina and helps bring you into the right mindset to help you to be patient, even if it feels hard. When you practice and break through the things that are difficult in your yoga practice, you cultivate the same kind of mindset to enter your daily life.
Forearm Plank or Dolphin Plank Pose makes the hands and feet strong, the abdominal muscles are stretched, and all the back muscles are joined. It also stretches and tones the muscles in the legs and feet.
Forearm Plank or Dolphin Plank Pose is one of the most effective poses for strengthening all abdominal muscles: transverse, rectus, quadratus lumborum and oblique. Since it strengthens the back muscles at the same time, it is fast and effective.
The posture also lengthens your spine, creating strength and flexibility at the same time. Pose is also a weight gain exercise that can prevent osteoporosis, when used in combination with a healthy diet, fresh air, and plenty of water.
The posture improves digestion, increases circulation, and stimulates the respiratory system. Pose is quite rejuvenating as it increases the blood flow in the body rapidly. Any poses that increases blood flow faster can bring you to a state of meditation faster, which may have additional benefits.
Practicing Dolphin Planck Pose can help focus on peace, peace of mind and the practitioner. This pose can give you an outlet for high frequency energy of anxiety, tension, frustration, and anger. It can give you a physical challenge that can get you out of your head full of unproductive thoughts.
Step by step Forearm Plank or Dolphin Plank Pose
- Begin in Chaturanga Dandasana with the wrists directly under the shoulders and the knees under the hips.
- Make sure the shoulders are aligned with the wrists.
- Now slowly, lower the elbows to the floor and place them directly under the shoulders so that the forearms are parallel to each other and the arms with shoulder distance apart.
- Press the hand to the floor, lift the thighs and take care not to sink the hips too low. If the butt sticks in the air, re-align the body so shoulders are directly above elbows.
- Breathe smoothly and evenly through the nose.
- Think of the muscles in the front of the body attached to support the weight, while the muscles in the back of the body engage to help with alignment.
- Engage the muscles in the quadriceps to provide structural support for the lower legs. Pull the abdomen in strongly, and actively engage the pelvic floor muscles as much as you can.
- As you inhale, slowly draw the abdominal muscles in and relax them as you exhale.
- Engage the pectoral muscles (which connect the chest to the shoulder and arm) to create even more stability for the upper body.
- Finally, allow the deltoid muscles (in the shoulders) to support the shoulders even more and lengthen the neck so that the collarbones remain open.
- Stay in this position for 30-120 seconds and repeat the process three times more.
A beginner yogi can do this yoga pose while being on their knees. They can also be place yoga blocks below the forehead to support the weight of the body.
Modifications and variations
Forearm Plank or Dolphin Plank Pose can be modified to accommodate your fitness level, whether you need to work your way up to the full plank or need an extra challenge.
- Knees on the floor: If your stomach is a little weak, then place your knees on the floor. Be sure to keep a straight line from your knees to the top of your spine.
- Palms: Bend your palms to challenge your shoulders. When you take away that stability, you force your shoulder muscles to work harder.
- Side planks: Shift your weight on one elbow, place the other hand on your hip or point it towards the sky, and stack your feet. Keep a straight line from the heel to the shoulders. Hold until you can create the proper form. Repeat on the other side.
- Forearm Plank or Dolphin Plank Pose Repeater: While holding a Forearm Plank, raise your right foot and tap your left ankle. Keep your right foot back down, and then tap the left foot on the right ankle.
- Single-leg planks: Raise one leg while holding the Forearm Plank or Dolphin Plank Pose. Repeat on the other side.
- Single-arm planks: Yes, instead of lifting one leg, you’re going to do it one-handed. Raise one hand in front of you and hold your planking plank.
Precautions and contraindications
Avoid practicing Forearm Plank or Dolphin Plank Pose if you have a recent or current shoulder, back, arm, or neck injury. Avoid this pose even if you have high blood pressure, or an infection in the eye or inner ear. Always work within your own limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk to your doctor before practicing this yoga pose.