When it comes to the world of core training, planks remain a perennial favourite. They’re simple and straightforward, yet effective when it comes to teaching someone the proper mechanics of bracing and core activation. The conventional plank – done in a pronated position – is perhaps the most common and is often seen being performed in both gyms and exercise parks. Flip this exercise on its head however, and you’ll get something that tackles your core a little differently without any loss in athletic carryover.
The reverse plank is exactly just that – a plank that is done with facing up instead of down. Similar in principle to the reverse bridge that is common in pilates classes, the reverse plank requires you to work your entire body from head to toe in order to support its weight.
Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit
One of the most important things to consider when it comes to performing the reverse plank correctly is shoulder mechanics. Despite its categorisation as a core exercise, the reverse plank requires the shoulders to be properly braced for the exercise to be effective.
Keeping the shoulders “in the back packet” will allow tension to be distributed properly down the length of the back, instead of keeping it all in the trapezius muscles. A common mistake with regards to this is when the athlete begins to relax at the shoulders, allowing them to shrug upwards when they should be depressed and packed together.
Done correctly, the reverse plank places extra emphasis on the posterior chain in its role in core activation. Most people tend to associate core training with anterior musculature, when in fact the posterior chain play a larger role when it comes to holding a braced position. In the reverse plank, the hamstrings, glutes, back and rear shoulders are all factored into the equation.
Putting yourself in the active plank position is done through hip extension, so you should not be arching your lower back at any point to achieve/sustain this position. Keeping your wrists, elbows and shoulders completely perpendicular to the floor will also prevent any unnecessary strain on the joints. The reverse plank can be held for time anywhere between 30 – 90s for multiple sets, but be sure to perform them correctly to start with!