Very seldom does an exercise offer as much bang for your buck as the reverse plank. This one hits the entire posterior chain, improves your deadlift strength, and even helps your postural health.
The Reverse Plank
- Grab two benches and a Swiss ball.
- Lay on your back on the floor in between the benches with both feet up on the ball and your elbows on the benches.
- Push your elbows down into the benches and extend your hips up toward the ceiling.
- Your body should be parallel to the floor.
- Engage your upper back muscles and maintain full-body tension.
- Hold for 40 seconds, rest 20 seconds, and repeat for 3-5 sets.
- Progress to a single-leg variation for greater hamstring engagement.
This is also effective as an active rest between sets to reinforce upper back engagement (thanks to Jim Smith for this gem). For example, do a set of deadlifts followed by a 20-30 second reverse plank hold.
Conversely, you can hold for a 10-second count before deadlifting to reinforce upper back engagement during your pull. You'll have less tendency to round the upper back during your set up and as you lockout.
Now, gyms can get busy and not all of us have the luxury of being able to hoard a couple benches, a Swiss ball, and plenty of floor space without getting some dirty looks. Not to worry though, you can do this at home with nothing but your couch.