The Dog Series have their foundations in Yoga and are simply a combination of Upward Facing Dog and Downward Facing Dog done in a continuous manner. These two positions can also be found in the popular (but not magically empowered or mystical) Dand or Hindu pushup, and the Dive Bomber (which we all know isn't magically empowered or mystical, it's just hard as hell!). If you need further explanation on what a Dand is, check out the Dive-Bomber page.

I was re-introduced to these separate postures when I attended a Yoga seminar and thought they would be a great way for people who couldn't do Dive Bombers or Dands to build their strength and work on their flexibility if they needed it. The Dog Series allows you to build up your shoulder strength by taking the arcing motion out of those styles of pushups but keeps the stretching in.

When some of the people in my class heard I was getting back into Yoga, they laughed at the thought. I figured it would benefit them to do the Dog Series as well but, being the evil sicko that I am, I make them mix the Dog Series immediately followed by a set of Dands then a quick set of 5 pullups.

It really doesn't sound like that much does it? Yep, that's what they said too.

Just like with the Reverse Bleacher Squats, the whining, complaining, and comments like: "HOLY CRAP! This sucks!" along with everyone rubbing their shoulders and giving me dirty looks told me that this was another keeper! ha ha!

One quick point before we go through the exercise: These movements are NOT held longer than one phase of the breath. This means that when you inhale you should move into one position and when you exhale you should move into the next. This forces you to slow your motions and that makes the Dog Series either an excellent warm-up all by itself or a deceptively brutal part of your workout!



Pic 1

To begin the Dog Series get into a regular pushup position. Make sure that your hands are directly under your shoulders and then spread your feet for some balance.

Pic 2

This is the starting position and when I call it out during class, I simply call it "Back". (Pic 1)

Make sure your hands are still shoulder width apart and your feet are still spread for balance. When you push back into this position, make a controlled exhale and finish with your arms, back, and legs as straight as your flexibility allows. When you get back into this position you may want to walk your toes up towards your hands a bit to get a better hamstring stretch and facilitate the pushups that will follow.

For modification: If you're doing a modification, you'll start it in the next position but I want you to really try and do this position with your knees off the ground. Read on and you'll understand what I'm talking about.


Pic 3

Take a controlled inhale through your nostrils and come to the "Forward" position. (Pic 3).

Now notice that my hands and feet have not moved from their original position in Pic 1 and yours shouldn't either.

If your strength isn't up to doing a full Dog Series, you will begin your modification at this point. Before going to the next step, KEEPING YOUR BODY STRAIGHT, bend at the knees and place them on the ground. At least come out to this position on your feet AND THEN drop your knees to the ground.


Pic 4

A controlled exhale and SLOWLY lower yourself to the "Down" position. (Pic 4) The key points in this position are that you exhale SLOWLY and make sure that your elbows are directly against the sides of your torso. At the bottom of this position your entire body is flexed and should be just a few inches off the ground.

By the 2nd or 3rd set, you should start feeling this in your shoulders and Triceps. Nice!

If you're doing the modification, your knees are still on the ground but everything else up to your shoulders is off.

Pic 5

Take a controlled inhale and come to the "Up" position. To do this, keep your hips just off the ground and "look up" while straightening your arms.

This is the biggest sticking point for people as far as flexibility goes so if you're not completely warmed up or you have poor flexibility, take it down a notch and don't come up so far.

When you exhale and move into the next position, you'll go to the "Down" position in Pic 1 and that's 1 complete rep. If you're going to mix this with other pushups you can do a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio.

Put simply:

1:1 = 5 Dog Series + 5 Pushups

1:2 = 5 Dog Series + 10 Pushups

There's a new workout called Round and Round that uses the Dog Series with other pushups for an upper body beat down and they will definitely be used in my SCRAPPER Bodyweight Mod. 1!

Contact me if you have any questions:

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