Strengthen your yoga practice with this twist on downward dogs

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: downward dog with ankle reaches. 

Yoga and strength training don’t need to be mutually exclusive. Many poses require core control and upper body strength to hold you in tough postures, but you can also add extra muscle-building fire with small, easy tweaks. 

Take the downward dog. It’s known for lengthening almost every muscle in the body, from the calves to the spine and down to the forearms. But by adding in an ankle reach, you also challenge your stability and load up the shoulders for an extra strengthening burn. 

You may also like

Try dynamic 90/90 stretches to improve hip mobility

What is a downward dog with ankle reaches?

The pose is done in the classic down dog pose but includes lifting one hand off the floor and reaching it back to your ankle. 

This exercise is great because it:

It releases tight muscles: the dynamic twist as you reach your ankles will stretch further into your back and your hamstrings. 

It builds strength: by moving through the high plank and holding your weight through one arm. 

It is a great warm-up: do it before your upper body workouts to activate the muscles. 

What muscles are worked in downward dog with ankle reaches?

It’s a full body exercise that works: 

  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Lower back 
  • Lats
  • Rear delts
  • Anterior delts 
  • Biceps
  • Triceps

You may also like

Move of the week: stretch tight shoulders with thread the needle pose

How to do downward dog with ankle reaches

  1. Begin in a high plank with your weight pushing into all ten fingers and core engaged.
  2. Push your hips to the sky to come into a downward dog position. 
  3. Lift one hand off the mat and bring it towards your opposite ankle without twisting your hips to the side. 
  4. Bring the hand back to the floor and press your hips forward back into downward dog. 
  5. Repeat on the other side. 

For more moves of the week and fitness tips, sign up to the Strong Women Training Club.

Images: Stylist

Source: Read Full Article