Meghan Markle being dubbed a duchess, leggings with pockets, hard seltzer — there’s nothing better than something you already love getting an upgrade. Reverse planks are essentially the next level of everyone’s favourite booty builder, glute bridges. They require more strength from your core, hip extensors, and butt — once you’re there, though, get ready for peach perfection.
How To Do A Reverse Plank
How to: Start by sitting on the ground, and prop yourself up on your hands (hardest) or forearms (easier). Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders and fingers facing toward your feet. Extend your legs out in front of you (harder) or bend your knees (easier). Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from ankles to chest, and hold for 5 to 30 seconds.
Reps/sets for best results: Begin with short holds of 5 to 10 seconds, working your way up to longer holds over time, advises Los Angeles-based exercise physiologist Rachel Straub, and author of Weight Training Without Injury. If your hips sink to the ground, that’s a sign you don’t have adequate glute strength yet, and need to start with some foundational moves, like clamshells, lateral band walks, glute bridges, and squats, she adds. But generally, you want to aim for 8 to 12 reps for 3 sets of reverse plank. If you are doing other butt exercises, just do one set, Straub says.
Form tips: Pain in your lower back means you’re extending at your back rather than your hips, which can often be the result of weak glute muscles, in which case, drop down to the foundational moves mentioned above. Cramping in your hamstrings, similarly, can come from not activating your hammies and glutes. Straub advises trying an easier exercise first (like a glute bridge), then moving back into reverse plank.
Benefits Of Reverse Planks
The reverse plank primarily targets the glutes and hamstrings, even more so than a standard glute bridge. But it also challenges the upper body—particularly the shoulders—the lower back, and core. “You need strength in both your upper and lower body to do this stabilizing exercise correctly,” Straub says. Plus, it’s a great stretch in your shoulders and chest.
READ MORE: How To Do A Good Morning Exercise
Make Reverse Planks Part Of Your Workout
Reverse plank is a great move for strengthening your core and glutes, but give yourself at least a day of rest in between—that means you can do it three to four times a week, Straub says.
First, make sure you have the foundational strength: If you can’t do three sets of 12 glute bridges, or hold a regular plank for at least 30 seconds, don’t attempt the reverse plank yet, Straub says.
If your glutes are good to go, include this move on a lower body or glute day, working it in early while your muscles are fresh. Straub advises pairing it with other lower body exercises—squats, lunges, leg presses—and ones that work stability, like standard planks, leg curls with a ball, and pushups.
To make this move harder, add a weight to your waist or increase the hold time.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com