This Next-Level ‘Floating’ Plank Variation Will Work All 360-Degrees of Your Core

Photo: Getty Images/GrapeImages

When it comes to working your core, there are a few main moves that comes to mind... and all of them are planks. Side planks! Seal-walks! Plank up-downs! The list goes on and on (and on and on). And while these variations are all A+ for kicking that center core into gear, they leave out one critical element of core strength.

See, what you may not realize is that your core not only encompasses the front of your body (hiya, abs!) but also all of the muscles on the backside of your body, too, otherwise known as your posterior chain. This "chain" is made up of your hamstrings, glutes, calves, traps—basically everything on your backside. "It is important to include this in your core work, because it's part of the foundation from which all movements stem," explains Sarah Pifer, ACE certified personal trainer and district fitness manager at Gold’s Gym.

Because we spend so much time sitting at desks/on couches/in cars, etc, and craning over our cellphones, we're generally a very anterior-dominant society. These habits, explain Pifer, have shortened the muscles on the front of our bodies while lengthening and weakening the ones in the back. "This imbalance leads to low back pain," she says, adding that, "If we strengthen the posterior core, and the entire posterior chain, it can help prevent this from occurring."

And so, enter the floating plank, which is a plank variation that works your core from a full 360-degree angle. "A reverse plank forces you to open up your chest and hips—which tend to be shortened and tight—and also recruits several muscles in your posterior chain like the glutes, hamstrings, and triceps," says Pifer, noting that it's a great postural bodyweight exercise.

To do the move effectively, place your feet on a raised surface (like a bench) and hoist your upper body parallel using the hard handles on a set of TRX straps. Hold your body in a straight line, squeezing your glutes and core, for as long as you can. Physical therapist Joe Gambino, PT, DPT, CSCS, suggests working your way up to a two-minute hold. "The back side of the body is where performance is made—don't forget to blend posterior chain work into your workout programs," he says.

So when it comes to working your core, be sure to not forget about that back.

Speaking of working that back body, here's why you should be aware of avoiding the "butt wink" when you're squatting. And another move we love for lighting up that posterior chain? Reverse planks, which don't require any equipment at all. 

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