To have a six-pack is not the ultimate sign of a perfectly strong abdomen. Indeed, there is more to the abdominal muscles than what meets the eye. Have you any idea that the regular core exercise and the standard plank work only on limited muscles of the abdomen?
Have you heard about the posterior chain of abdominal muscles? Where are they located? Also, how useful are they in the overall health of a body? And how do you exercise them?
This article will explain all the facts and help you develop an all-round healthy and muscular core—a core, not just for beauty but for real strength too.
What Is A Reverse Plank?
Reverse plank is a very practical exercise for the neglected and under-utilized muscles of the posterior part of the abdomens.
Generally, all exercises of the core and abs focus on the anterior muscles like the abdominals and the external obliques. But reverse planks work on muscles like Hip abductors, hip adductors, hip flexors, lumbar spine, and glutes.
In essence, the reverse plank, like the name suggests, is just the opposite of plank. In the case of the regular plank, the body is in a prone position. Whereas in the case of the reverse plank, the body is in a supine position.
Ideally, the regular plank exercises the anterior muscles. In contrast, the reverse plank works on the posterior muscles of the core. All workouts generally include the standard plank in the schedule, but the reverse plank is very uncommon.
What Does A Reverse Plank Do Your Body?
Along with the regular plank, the reverse plank ensures the complete workout of the core muscles. As the exercise of arms is incomplete without the triceps, so is the core exercise incomplete without the workout of posterior abdominal muscles.
Primarily, it strengthens the lower back muscles, the hamstrings, and the glutes. These muscles get worked in a way as never before. And hence reverse plank has a significant effect on them. It also works on the anterior abdominal muscles. Apart from the group of muscles, as a whole, it offers the following benefit to the body
- It helps correct the body posture and aligns the body in proper form. Usually, sitting for long hours, sedentary lifestyles, and weakened muscles take their toll on the body posture. Furthermore, a lousy body posture further aggravates the problem. Reverse plank dramatically helps the body to get back the poise and posture.
- Along with the lower back muscles, it strengthens the shoulder extensors at a 90 unusual angle. The shoulders extensor is a greatly underutilized muscle of the shoulder. And the under utility weakens it out. However, the reverse plank helps exercise the shoulder extensors as no other exercise does. This exercise is much better than the German Hang, which does not work on the shoulder extensors as it should.
- Most of the exercises performed to focus on the anterior muscles. But, the reverse plank exercises mostly posterior muscles and tries to maintain the balance of the body in terms of strength and stability.
- It helps in burning fat, particularly around the mid-body section
- It relieves the back pain
- Along with the shoulder, it adds flexibility to shoulder blades and muscles around the collar bone.
Reverse Plank: How Should You Do It?
Initially, the reverse plank may look intimidating, but it is not so difficult to perform. However, the only prerequisite is that you should have some minimum core strength. You can judge strength by doing the regular plank. Ideally, one should be able to hold the standard plank for 30 seconds. Then only one is a suitable candidate to attempt reverse plank.
According to Stack, after the regular warm-up, one should:
- Sit down on the floor mat with your legs extended in front of you.
- Then, place both your hands a little behind the shoulders, on the ground.
- The fingers can, however, point away from the body or to the sides, as per your comfort.
- By pushing on the heels and the hand, raise the midsection (abdomen) of the body to form a plank (straight). See that the toes, abdomen, chest, and the head are all in one line.
- Keep the chin-up up and normal. Do not dig into the shoulders.
- Now, breathe normally and hold the position as long as you can (10 to 30 seconds initially is good)
- After the plank, gradually lower your abdomen and sit down as in the starting position.
- Repeat it to get three exercises to make one set
- Note, each reverse plank workout should consist of three sets.
Reverse Plank For Beginners
If you find this process challenging to perform, then for a few days you can try an easy way to start;
- As before sit on the floor mat with outstretched legs.
- Next, bend the knees and plant the legs firmly on the ground somewhere midway between your glutes and heel.
- Keep your hands a little behind the shoulder level on the ground.
- Let the fingers face in a comfortable direction.
- With a thrust on the ground with feet and the hand lift the body to form a bridge.
- Hold this bridge for 10 – 30 seconds.
- Lower the body down and come to the starting position.
Incorporate these variations from time to time in your workout. It will keep the interest alive, and you can reap more benefits out of your efforts.
Tips To Maximize Results:
For many of us, reverse plank may a very new experience and exercise. It is not just enough to know how it is done, and we should also know how we can maximize the benefits out of this exercise.
One should have developed some fundamental core strength to attempt this exercise as Lifehack says. The following points will help perform the exercise most beneficially.
- When doing the reverse plank, do not be in any haste and perform the exercise slowly in proper form.
- The body should be in perfect control.
- Since it is an unusual position of the body, take all care to keep yourself balanced.
- Focus on breathing. You should breathe regularly.
- Do not hold your breath in any movement of the exercise.
- When you have established the body in the plank position, restrain from sagging your back. The form and pose of exercise are vital.
- In case, out of fatigue, the back sags, end the plank. Rest for a few moments and go in for the next repetition.
- Holding the plank for a lesser time in proper form is more beneficial than keeping it for more time, out of form.
Avoid Stressing The Knee And Elbow Joints
- Avoid stressing your knee joint and elbow joint.
- It is the exercise of the glutes and the back.
- Let the back and glutes bear all stress.
- Do not overextend or overstretch the elbow and knee. Doing this will stress the relevant muscles, and more significant benefits can be accrued from the exercise.
Align Your Neck
- During the entire exercise, do not bend your neck either forward or backward. Keep it perfectly aligned with the torso. That way, it will be saved of unnecessary stress, and all efforts directed to the back muscles.
Reverse Plank Variations
Once you are adept at the standard reverse plank exercises, add variations to avoid boredom and increase effectiveness. Variations in exercises work the muscles differently, and that increases efficiency. The muscles get used to the monotonous style, and after some time, the training loses its effectiveness and ability to work out.
Try variations, only when you are confident, and when your muscles have gained strength. The best way to test is to check for three sets of reverse planks with at least 30 seconds of hold in each exercise. To be able to do this vouches for the required strength to try variations.
Some common and straightforward variations to try with reverse planks are:
Weighted Reverse Plank
- Use some weighted waist belts when doing the reverse plank.
- Begin soberly with about 2 lbs. of weight and go up 5 -7 lbs. in a few weeks.
- With added resistance, the muscles will get a reason to get stronger and more prominent.
- The strength, as well as the endurance, will increase.
Leg Up Reverse Plank
- Once you reach and stabilize in the reverse plank position, raise one of your legs off the ground, straight ahead, and hold it there for few moments.
- Gradually lower that leg and similarly raise the other leg in front of you and hold it for few seconds.
- Repeat the flip flop of the legs throughout the reverse plank hold.
- It will work the involved muscles with more intensity and increase strength, stamina, and endurance.
- The fat burn in the hips and thighs will hasten because of this variation.
- Take care to maintain proper form and balance.
- Keep your breathing regular and even.
- Avoid all kinds of jerky movements.
Reverse Plank With Triceps Dip
- Once you have reached the reverse plank position hold for 30 seconds.
- Then bend your elbow to lower your upper body.
- It will work out your triceps.
- Lower the upper body as much as you can.
- Hold there for a count of 3 and gradually come back.
- Alternate the triceps push and hold.
- It works as a multiple or compound exercise, and your triceps also get exercised along with the abdomens.
- Attempt this exercise when you are sure of your strength and stamina.
Reverse Plank With Triceps Dip And A Leg Up
- This exercise is the combination of the triceps push and the leg up.
- After you hold the plank for about 30 seconds, lower the upper body for the triceps dip.
- Simultaneous lift one leg off the ground in front of you and hold it there.
- After 3 – 5 seconds, raise your upper body to the plank, and lower your leg.
- Again, go for the triceps dip, but this time raise the other leg.
- Repeat 5 -7 times.
The intention of taking up any exercise is making the body more fit and strong. Hence all necessary safety precautions should be taken before the reverse plank to avoid any kind of injury or unwanted situations.
- Attempt this exercise only if your hip and back are perfectly healthy. If there is any kind of pain either in the lower back hip or hamstring, please do not perform reverse planks.
- Similarly, in case of any kind of stress or pain in the neck and shoulder or upper back or wrist, avoid doing this exercise.
- If the case of any spinal injury or disorder, either currently or in the past, one must avoid doing a reverse plank. In such a situation is it necessary to consult a doctor and take his advice on the matter.
- Do not overstress and overstretch yourself while doing the exercise.
- In case of any discomfort or pain, stop immediately.
- Do not attempt this exercise in a cold body. Either do a warm-up of the whole body or some other exercises before getting into a reverse plank.
- Use an anti-slip exercise floor mat for the reverse plant. It will prevent accidental slippage of the legs or arms.
- Initially, perform the reverse plank either under the supervision of a senior or a trainer.
- Do not repeat the reverse plank without having a gap of 2/3 days in between. That might overstress the muscles and recovery may not be complete.
The reverse plank is a great exercise, but a bit unknown. You can try performing this exercise along with the standard plank for a complete abdominal workout. Learn to do it in the right form and pose from your trainer. And consult a doctor before attempting to do a reverse plank.