Did you just raise an eyebrow when reading the title of today's blog? Remember, your "core" is not just abdominal muscles. The core is a group of muscles that encompass the trunk/torso front to back, shoulders to hips. While it includes the abdominal muscles, the core is a fundamental muscle group to stabilize the body, assist with arm and leg movements, and assists with proper posture. For more information, refer back to our previous blog on strengthening the core.
Now let's focus on the backside of your core, including your backside (i.e., glutes)!! One very effective exercise is the "reverse plank" or for all of you yoginis and yogis, "upward plank". This exercise will target the glutes and hamstrings and, when done correctly, it will engage the abs and lower back muscles. Here's how to perform the reverse plank. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, hands on the floor next to your hips. Turn your hands so the fingers are facing your feet. Take a deep breath in and lift your hips up off of the floor, pressing your palms in to the floor. Point your toes so the only points of contact with the floor are your heels and palms. Lift your head and look at the ceiling, keeping your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your toes. While in this position engage your abdominal muscles and draw your belly button in towards your spine. Try to hold this position for 20-30 seconds. If you cannot maintain a straight body, lower your hips back to the floor and take a brief 2-3 second rest. Lift your hips and try again.
Not only will this exercise strengthen the posterior core muscles, it will also help strengthen the wrists, arms and shoulders and provide you with a deep stretch of the chest, shoulders, and tops of the feet. If you have wrist problems or a previous wrist injury, proceed with caution on this exercise. You can try to keep the wrist in a neutral position by placing your hands on dumbbells or handles instead of placing the palms on the floor.
Add this exercise to your workout routine and start improving your core strength. Remember, start slow and work your way up to holding the reverse plank for longer times. If you need assistance with this exercise, check with one of our fitness professionals at PROMATx Health Club to ensure you are performing the reverse plank safely.