This is a great posture to strengthen the back while stretching the abs, making it the perfect exercise to counter a rounded spinal position, whether from sitting at a desk, deadlifting, or other fitness activities. Although Sphinx is an active pose, you can use it for restoration after a workout or sitting all day.
Sphinx Target Areas
- Mid- and upper back
- Improves posture
- Stretches abdominal muscles
- Prevents lower-back pain from poor posture
– click images to enlarge –
How to Do Sphinx
- Lie on your stomach, and place your forearms flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart with palms facing down and elbows under your shoulders. Spread fingers wide, and press forearms, palms, and fingers firmly but lightly into the floor. One at a time, stretch your legs back as far as possible, pointing your toes. Engage your thighs, and rotate legs inward. Squeeze your big toes, ankles, knees, and hips toward each other. Press the tops of feet firmly into floor.
- Use your forearms to pull your body forward and lengthen the torso, then press into your arms to lift your chest away from the floor. Engage your thighs and core to protect the spine. Press the crown of your head upward. Squeeze your shoulder blades toward each other. Hold the posture, inhaling as you lift slightly higher, and exhaling as you maintain height.
Cues for Sphinx
- Keep thighs firmly engaged and knees lifted
- Press tops of toes into floor
- Press crown of head upward
- Retract shoulder blades
- Pull navel into lower back
WHAT YOU SHOULD FEEL
- Engagement of back, neck, core, and lower body
- Stretch in core and chest
WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T FEEL
- Lower-back pain; if so, engage legs, per step 1
- Knees touching the floor; if so, engage thighs
- Strain in neck; look up only as high as comfortable
Sphinx Pro Tip
This is a great posture to strengthen the mid- and upper-back, so focus on the muscle engagement to get the most out of this exercise.
About Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
Dean Pohlman is an E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and the founder of Man Flow Yoga. Dean is widely considered to be an authority on Yoga for Men. He has worked with physical therapists to create yoga programs for back health and spinal recovery. His workouts and programs have been used by professional and collegiate athletes, athletic trainers, and personal trainers; and have been recommended by physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals.
Dean is a successfully published author through DK Publishing (Yoga Fitness for Men), selling 35,000 copies worldwide in English, French, and German; in addition to being a co-producer of the Body by Yoga DVD Series, which has sold over 40,000 copies on Amazon since its release in 2016.
Man Flow Yoga has been featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine, Mens’ Health, The Chicago Sun, New York Magazine, and many more major news media outlets.