Sphinx Pose Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

Sphinx Pose is a beginning backbend in yoga that helps open the chest, lungs and lower back. The exercise also strengthens the spine and buttocks and lengthens the abdominal muscles.

Sphinx Pose

How to do Sphinx Pose


Lie down on your belly with your legs together. Place your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor beside your sides. Push up on your forearms so your upper chest is lifted. Firm your butt and lengthen your lower back.


  • When you're a novice, consider doing Sphinx Pose standing up. Stand facing a wall, then put your forearms shoulder-width apart and palms to it. Align the elbows with your shoulders to build a.

  • When you have low arms, hold your hands on the floor to stop arching backward.

  • When you have a sore lower back or a new fracture, restrict the range of motion by holding your shoulders on the floor to stop arching your spine. Engage the heart to have more support for the lower back.

Exercise Benefits

  • Chest Stretch

  • Back Strength

  • Flexibility

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do sphinx pose from this step-by-step illustrations:

Sphinx Pose 1
Sphinx Pose 2
Sphinx Pose 3

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for sphinx pose may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for sphinx pose are:

Primary Muscles

  • Upper Pecs

Synergyst Muscles

  • Abs
  • Traps
  • Deltoids
  • Upper Abs
  • Side Deltoids

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Sphinx Pose work?
Sphinx Pose works upper pecs.
What is Sphinx Pose good for?
Sphinx Pose is beneficial for conditioning, for stretching and to strengthen. It works the best for chest, upper body and upper chest, as it works upper pecs. Sphinx Pose is a great bodyweight exercise for men, men over 50, women and women over 50.
Is Sphinx Pose a good exercise?
Sphinx Pose is a popular bodyweight exercise for upper pecs.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Sphinx Pose faster?

Sphinx Pose Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Sphinx Pose and how should you?

Sphinx Pose Standards and Averages


Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Sphinx Pose Alternatives


Wonder how to make Sphinx Pose either easier or more challenging?

Sphinx Pose Variations

Discover more


Type(s) Bodyweight, Calisthenic, Strength, Compound
Muscles Worked Abdominals, Trapezius, Deltoids, Upper Abdominals, Posterior Deltoids, Pectoralis Major
Difficulty Level(s) Basic, Easy
Equipment No Equipment, Mat
Location At Gym, At Home, Outdoor

Muscles Worked

Target muscle(s) Upper Pecs
Synergyst muscle(s) Abs, Traps, Deltoids, Upper Abs, Side Deltoids

Related exercises

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