Last updated: Oct 19, 2009
True friends are the kind that "have your back," but if you're anything like me, you aren't too attentive to your own backside. I can't really see it, so I forget it needs some attention, too. I'm perfectly happy with the front of my arms, my abs, and my legs, but then I get a glimpse of my back in the mirror and my body confidence comes crashing down. It lacks definition and part of the reason is that we tend to use the parts of our bodies we can see—at least when it comes to exercise. No one ever says her back is too fat, and it's understandable why—out of sight, out of mind, right?


Purvottanasana, or Reverse Plank, is a great all-over backside toner. It strengthens the back of your arms, the muscles along your spine, your glutes, and your hamstrings. It's a challenging pose, and for the first couple of weeks, you might feel like you are trying to lift lead! Hang in there—there is a huge payoff. Next time you catch your backside in a mirror, youll be pleasantly surprised!

Begin sitting on the floor with your feet hips' distance and parallel, knees pointing up. Place your hands on the floor behind you with your fingers pointing in toward your body. Make sure your hands are no wider than shoulders' distance apart, and be sure to hug your elbows in. Squeeze your arms very straight. Get grounded in your hands and feet and begin to lift your hips up toward the ceiling, keeping your knees bent and creating a “reverse table” position. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and your knees should line up directly above your hips. Ultimately there should be a straight line in the body. Hold for 5–15 breaths. Release and repeat 3–5 times.

If you want more of a challenge, try this posture with the legs fully straight. To do this, your legs must be completely touching. Roll your thighs in and point the toes down to the floor. This version is very challenging, so please try it with care—you don't want to strain your back. Attempt it only once you've mastered the gentler version of Reverse Plank.