The Downward Dog Exercise (known as Adho Mukha Svanasana in yoga) is a great exercise for increasing and maintaining mobility in your shoulders and back while working your abs.
The Downward Dog Exercise forms part of the Golf Mobility series of innovative and dynamic exercises that will help to improve your joint and muscle mobility, improving your range of motion while increasing functional strength within the entire range of that motion – thus helping to prevent injuries and building the foundation for a consistent, accurate, and powerful golf swing.
- Start in a push-up position – with your hands and toes on the ground, your legs and back straight, forming a straight line from your ears to your ankles. The heels of your hands should be beneath your shoulders with your palms flat on the floor.
- Push your hips up into the air while pulling your tailbone under your pelvis, towards your heels, making and inverted “V” with your body.
- Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths, in and out.
- Exhale as you return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Press your heels towards the floor, but keep your back straight throughout – if you need to bend your knees slightly to do so, that’s fine.
Keep your shoulder blades pulled down throughout – keep them away from your ears. As you lift your hips, draw your shoulder blades away from your spine while still maintaining length across the front of your chest.
Keep your abdominal muscles engaged, press the whole of your hands firmly into the floor.
Keep your head in a neutral position, with your eyes looking at a point on the floor under you.
You should feel it working your abdominal muscles, shoulders and back.
If you find this exercise too difficult, work on the Dolphin Plank Exercise first.
Other variations include:
- Lift one foot and extend your leg toward the sky for a three-legged downward dog. Hold for five full breaths, release and switch to the other leg.
- Lift your right foot, bend your knee and extend your knee toward the sky. Twist your lower body to the right while keeping both hands planted on the floor. Hold for five deep breaths, release and switch to the other leg.
- Widen your stance to greater than shoulder width for a wide-legged downward dog.
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