This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Back arches develop core strength while working your legs and shoulders. Go from a flat to a fully arched position, pressing through your legs and shoulders as you stabilize through your center.
Lie on your back on the floor. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor, and put your hands on the floor above your shoulders, with your fingers pointing toward you. Your elbows will be sharply bent toward the ceiling (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, swiftly but smoothly press your hips and shoulders off the floor, coming up to a fully arched position. Use your core strength to create the feeling of being pulled upward from above, rather than shoving against the floor. Avoid craning your neck (see Photos 2 to 4).
- From the fully arched position, lower yourself back to the starting position in a single swift but controlled movement. Be careful not to thump downlower yourself from above. Repeat the back arch for a full set of 10 repetitions (see Photos 5 and 6).
If you find the back arches too difficult, you can modify them by placing a small stability under your middle back in the starting position, which otherwise stays the same. Press up off the ball into your back arch, and lower yourself back onto the ball to complete the repetition.
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.