How to Do Dolphin Pushups


The dolphin pushup builds strength and tone in your core, shoulders and arms. Rather than your hands being on the floor and the muscles in your shoulders and arms handling most of the load as in the traditional pushup, the dolphin is performed from your elbows and forearms so there’s greater emphasis placed on your core muscles. In addition, the dolphin pushup helps you build the strength needed for more advanced yoga poses like the headstand and forearm balance exercises. You can fit the dolphin pushup into your upper body and core-focused strength workouts.

Things You'll Need

  • Exercise mat
  • Begin with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up. Walk or lightly jog for five minutes and then perform 15 reps each of torso twists, arm circles and self hugs to increase blood flow to your core, shoulders and arms.

  • Prepare for dolphin pushups by lying prone and setting your forearms on the floor so your elbows are positioned directly beneath your shoulders. Bring your hands together and interlace your fingers. Engage your core, and rise up onto your toes so your torso and thighs are parallel to the floor.

  • Inhale as you take a small step forward with each foot, and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Drop your head down so it’s positioned under your chest. Your thighs and torso should create the shape of an upside-down “V.”

  • Exhale and step back one foot at a time as you lower your hips down until your thighs and torso are once again parallel to the floor. This completes the rep.

  • Complete two sets of five reps of dolphin pushups during each workout. As you build strength, gradually build up to sets of 12 repetitions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Engage your core and glutes while you lower your hips to help prevent momentum from causing them to drop below parallel or collapse toward the floor.

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  • Photo Credit Kris Butler/iStock/Getty Images
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