Reverse Plank–The Ultimate Core Exercise

Reverse plank, also known as Purvottanasana, is a yoga pose that Joseph Pilates borrowed for his Pilates mat routine. It is one heck of a core strengthener. In this one exercise, you work your abdominals, adductors, and glutes. Plus, because this pose involves reaching the arms behind the body, you get some bonus shoulder stretching and strengthening.

Reverse Plank Pose Prep

Before you practice the full pose, you should warm up your shoulders by practicing the modification for this pose.

  1. Sit on your mat with your hands slightly behind you, fingers pointed toward you. Bend your knees and have your feet planted on the mat hip-width apart.
  2. Inhale here and, as you exhale, press in to your hands and feet as you engage your abdominals to lift your torso. The goal is that you’ll lift your torso up and be flat like a table top. Make sure to let your head relax back as you lift.
  3. Inhale to lower your bottom back to the ground.
  4. Complete several repetitions of this so that your shoulders feel like they’re warmed up.

Reverse Plank Pose

  1. Use ujjayi breathing.
  2. Sit on your mat with your hands slightly behind you, fingers pointed toward you. Bend your knees and have your feet planted on the mat hip-width apart.
  3. Inhale here and, as you exhale, press in to your hands and feet as you engage your abdominals to lift your torso. The goal is that you’ll lift your torso up and be flat like a table top. Make sure to let your head relax back as you lift.
  4. Reverse Plank PoseAs you hold here and breathe continuously, extend one leg at a time. Bring your legs together and squeeze your adductors (inner thighs) together. Engage your glutes to help keep your hips lifted. You can either point or flex your feet. I like to flex mine because I think it helps me keep muscular engagement.
  5. Hold for several breaths.
  6. When you’re ready to lower, inhale. Then, as you exhale, lower your bottom to the mat.
  7. You may practice several repetitions of this to build strength.

Reverse Plank Pose Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What is your biggest challenge with this pose:  core strength or shoulder flexibility? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi! I'm Sarah, and I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. When I'm not working with clients, I'm researching the best ways to get rid of pain. Do you want to learn how to practice yoga and Pilates safely in your own home? Or, do you want to know all my tips and tricks for pain relief? Join my mailing list and receive free goodies to help you.

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