Stretch you body: reverse plank

The reverse plank is also know as purvottanasana. In Sanskrit ‘Purva’ means the whole body and ‘uttana’ means intense stretch. So this pose stretches your entire body and helps you to be flexible. It stretches your hands, legs, biceps and shoulders and abdomen and also strengthens your core muscles. Your feet are also worked out and so does your spine. It also stretches your chest and strengthens your wrists. In case you’ve a back problem or arthritis, consult your doctor before performing this pose. Reverse plank pose is also known as upward plank pose.

Technique

  • Begin sitting on your bum with your legs straight.
  • Bring your palms slightly behind your hips, fingertips facing the toes. Spread fingers out for a better base support.
  • Lean backwards for about 45 degrees angle. At his point your hands should be straight down from the shoulders.
  • Support your weight on your heals and palms and lift your body upward toward the ceiling.
  • Allow your head to drop back slightly.
  • Hold your entire body strong so that you are making a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels, and squeeze your core.
  • Hold for a couple breaths and slowly come back to the sitting position.

If your hips drop or you feel like your stomach is starting to sag, rather than holding the incorrect position, drop down, rest briefly, then start the next repetition. You will not be getting any benefit out of holding the wrong position, and you could actually be leaving yourself open to risk of injury.

Modifications

Once you have mastered the reversed plank routine, you can try to make the plank more difficult. Instead of using your palms for the body support, use your elbows. In this way will you more challenge your core. Other method to make it more difficult is to lift your legs. While you are in the reverse plank position,  lift one leg off the floor and keep it straight out in front of you. Hold the position for a couple seconds and then change your legs. Keep your posture tight and the elevated legs as straight as possible.

Benefits

The advantages of reverse plank pose are immense. It helps to shed excess body fat from the middle as well as strengthen shoulders, chest and hands. All the core muscles are worked out and this gives an even tone to the body. Since the body is raised parallel to the ground your abdomen gets worked out and the excess fat gets burned giving you a shapely waist. You also get attractive biceps and a strong spine. Since you squeeze your buttocks while the body is raised they too get worked out. Your legs are stretched there by shaping your thighs and legs and your feet are also worked out. With the head thrown back the throat is stretched aiding in shedding excess fat at the chin. People with double chin issues can perform this pose to get rid of it. Reverse plank pose builds core strength while improving balance as well. Purvottanasana or reverse plank pose helps to release toxins from the body, relax the mind, improves energy levels and is also beneficial for fatigue.

This workout is an intermediate level exercise, and it should be performed with care. Do not do this exercise if you have back problems or are otherwise injured. Always warm up before exercising.

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