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Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: cobra. 

You might think that you’ve nailed the classic yoga poses, moving through down dog and yogi press-up during a vinyasa flow without worry. Even so, refreshing your form is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to backbends such as cobra. 

The heart-opening posture is hugely beneficial but can also be stressful on your spine if done wrong. 

What is cobra pose?

A classic cobra is a lying backbend that’s popular in yoga and exercise warm-ups or cooldowns. The move is great because…

  • It works the anterior of your body: stretching the hips, chest and shoulders. 
  • It improves posture: opening the front of your body is the antidote to hunching. 
  • It’s energising: many people find backbends invigorating. 
  • It can improve your yoga practice: cobra is regularly featured in flows, and will prep you for more intense backbends like upward dog or bow pose. 

What muscles does cobra pose work?

A cobra pose will work into all the muscles in the front of your whole body, including: 

  • Hip flexors 
  • Abdominals
  • Pecs (chest) 
  • Front delts (shoulders) 

How to do cobra pose

  1. Lie face down on your mat with your palms by your head and forearms down on the mat.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and roll the shoulders back and down.
  3. Slowly lift your chest off the mat, keeping active through the back of your body.
  4. Lift as far as feels comfortable, releasing from your forearms to your hands if necessary, but keeping your pelvis and pubic bone down. 
  5. Release by bringing your chest back to the mat.

Keen to improve your form? Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises.

Image: Stylist

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