The Right Way

This Pilates Move Is a Plank for Your Back Body—And It’s Really Freaking Hard

Just when you think you're getting friendly with plank pose, you meet its spicy sister: reverse plank. While traditional plank works your anterior chain—or your front body—reverse plank challenges the muscles behind you. In this episode of The Right Way, Pilates pro Brian Spencer is showing you how to do the move properly.

"Today, I'm going to be showing you how to do a reverse plank, which is so helpful for strengthening our back bodies and activating the posterior chain from head to toe," he says.

Just like classic plank, there are a few things to keep an eye out for when you're attempting the reverse version. First, says Spencer, make sure you're not hunching your shoulders up to your ears. This will hurt the muscles of your neck and wreck your posture in the long term, so make sure to relax those blades down your back.

Next, make sure your legs are completely straight (with only a micro-bend to protect your knee joints) and that your hips aren't drooping too low to the ground. With those three cues in mind, you're ready to work that posterior chain. Ready?

How to do a reverse plank, one step at a time

1. Come to sit with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Place your hands a few inches behind you with your fingertips pointing forwards.

2. "Use the backs of those arms and the postural muscles to lift up, open the chest, and keep those shoulders away from the ears‚ engaging down the backs of the arms and lats," instructs Spencer.

3. Use your glutes to lift the hips and open up the pelvis. Keep a soft bend in the knees, but don't bend them too, too much. Activate the hamstrings so your back is elongated.

4. Gently engage your core and lower to the ground.

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