This is one of my favorite exercises to build up a strong core, and abdominal region. If you have a weak lower back or abdominal muscles, this exercise is for you. Additionally it is ideal for people of any fitness level, because you can adjust the intensity.
So what is this great exercise?
It is called the Supine Plank (also known as the Boat Pose in Yoga), and it is a great low impact exercise that will strengthen your lumbo-pelvic hip complex, including your main abdominal muscles (external obliques, rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis etc.).
How to perform the supine plank:
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
Grasp the sides of your legs.
Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the floor, so that your shins are parallel to the floor.
Push your chest outward, and don't allow your back to round.
You can keep holding the side of your legs (as seen in the video below), or extend your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Make sure that your back does not round.
Sets, reps, time:
Beginners, perform up to 10 repetitions of the exercise. Hold the supine plank for one second, then rest back on the mat, and repeat.
Intermediate exercisers can perform one supine plank, holding the position for 30 seconds - two minutes.
Advanced exercisers/athletes can perform one supine plank, holding the position for 2-5 minutes, or more.
Below is a quick tutorial of how to perform the supine plank.
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The Supine Plank