The reverse plank is a great bodyweight exercise for strengthening your core and your posterior muscles. If you perform the exercise correctly, it will isolate and strengthen not just the gluteal muscles but also your hamstrings, abs and lower back. Many people use this workout as a part of a warm-up, but it can also be used to stabilize your core and spine, and is good rehabilitation for people with back problems; assuming, of corse, that the movement is performed with proper form.
To perform this exercise, sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you, and place your palms on the floor slightly behind your hips. Spread your fingers wide and press into your palms, lifting your hips so that your torso moves up towards the ceiling.
Keep looking at the ceiling, and point your toes. Make sure that you keep your arms and your legs straight. Hold your entire body strong so that you are making a straight line from your head to your heels, and squeeze your core. It should feel like you are trying to pull your belly button towards your spine.
You should aim to hold the reverse plank for 20-30 seconds per repetition. If your hips drop or you feel like your stomach is starting to sag, lower yourself back to the floor immediately. 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.
More Advanced Versions
Once you have mastered the standard reversed plank routine, you can try to make the plank more difficult. There are several ways you can do this. One option is to wear a weighted vest while performing the plank. If you do this, start with adding just 5 or 10lbs of weight and gradually increase the amount of resistance you use.
Another option is to do one-legged planks. Raise yourself up into a normal reversed plank position, and then once you are in place lift one leg off the floor and keep it straight out in front of you. Hold the position for as long as you can, keeping your posture tight and the elevated leg as straight as possible. When you experience fatigue, lower yourself back down to the floor and repeat the process, elevating the other leg.
Planking is a low impact exercise that builds strength and endurance and offers a good full body workout. 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, and focus on holding good form throughout the exercise. If you feel that you are not yet strong or flexible enough to perform a full plank, try performing a similar motion but supporting yourself on your elbows instead of your hands. Gradually increase the length of time you hold the position and work up to the full version of the exercise.