Skip to main content
Trainers working with clients

Stretch of the Week: Dolphin Stretch

by AthleticoLeave a Comment

The last calf stretch of February is the Dolphin stretch. The Dolphin Stretch is a bonus stretch because it will get into the shoulders and the upper back as well as the calves! It’s very similar to the forearm stretch on the wall from week 2 in January if you want to go back and take a look, but we are taking it to the floor this week.

This stretch is not recommended for people who have severe shoulder issues.  You will need a yoga mat or a surface where you won’t slip easily.

How to do the Dolphin Stretch:

1. Start on all fours. Bring your forearms with palms down, to the floor. The forearms should be shoulder distance apart. A great way to check that is by placing hands on opposite elbows to measure, as shown in the photo below.

Dolphin stretch starting pose

Tip: you can place a strap or belt above the elbows to keep them from splaying out. You don’t want the elbows to move out because that causes internal rotation and can possibly cause impingement. So keep those elbows in line with the shoulders! 

2. If placing the palms flat on the floor is too difficult then bring the palms together, interlacing the fingers, but still keep the shoulders and elbows in line.

3. Once the forearms are in place exhale and begin to lift the knees off the floor and the hips towards the ceiling, trying to make the legs straight. You will most likely come up onto the toes or the ball mound of the feet. The gaze should be at the feet.

Lifting the hips for Dolphin Stretch4. From here bring the belly button towards the spine engaging the abdominals, this will tilt the pelvis as well as tilt the tailbone down.

5. Keeping that engagement, raise the sit bones to the ceiling and rotate the inner thighs to the back of the room. Keep the legs strong, reach the heels in the direction of the floor.

6.The gaze stays at the feet as you push the forearms into the floor and the chest towards the thighs.

7. Keep the shoulders widening across the back (think away from the spine) as well as towards the tailbone. You are trying to straighten the legs as well as keeping the spine straight as in the top photo with the thumbs up.

8. Try to refrain from rounding in the back too much, and leaning the shoulders pass the elbows as in the bottom half of the photo below. If you need to keep the knees a little bent to keep the spine straight that is fine. You will still feel it in the back of the legs.

Tip #2: you can place a folded blanket under heels for something to push the heels into so that you feel grounded.

9. Stay here for 30 seconds. Repeating a few times if you like.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *