How to do the boat exercise for a strong back

We have options for all skill levels.

What is this exercise and why do the “boat”

In rhythmic gymnastics, a “boat” is an exercise in which a person lies on his stomach with his arms and legs extended, and raises his shoulders, chest and hips off the floor.

In fitness, this move is known as “superman” and in yoga, a similar asana is called grasshopper pose, or shalabhasana.

The “boat” exercise is ideal for strengthening the back muscles. And this is one of the few movements with which you can pump the expanders at home, without any equipment and with the participation of a partner.

In addition to the muscles surrounding the spine, during the “boat” they also work:

  • serratus anterior muscles responsible for the movement of the shoulder blades;
  • the deltoid and rotator cuff muscles;
  • triceps, extending the arm at the elbow joint;
  • buttocks;
  • back thigh muscles.

The exercise can be performed statically, frozen in the “boat” and striving to hold it, as well as in motion, raising and lowering the legs and arms without prolonged fixation.

The static load will increase muscular endurance while lying down, which will help keep your back straight every day. A dynamic “bounce” will teach the body to work effectively at all points on the range. This will be useful for performance on back extension exercises like rows or deadlifts.

Who doesn’t know how to do the “boat” exercise

You should not do the “boat” exercise if you have spinal problems. Bending over can make back and neck pain worse.

However, it should be noted that this movement is often used in rehabilitation programs as a remedy for back pain. But in this case, the “vessel” is carried out under the supervision of a doctor.

How to do this exercise correctly

Lie on the floor, face down, stretch your arms above your head and turn your palms down. Straighten your legs, tuck your knees in, and place the backs of your feet on the floor.

At the same time, lift your chest, shoulders, and legs off the floor and lift them as high as you can. Do not raise your head: the neck should be aligned with the back, without wrinkles.

Continue to tuck your knees in and try not to spread your legs apart, keeping your feet hip-width apart. This will evenly distribute the load between the buttocks and the muscles of the back of the thigh.

Hold for 15-30 seconds, trying to lift your chest and legs as high as you can. Do not let the limbs touch the ground until the end of the interval.

The technique for performing the dynamic “boat” is the same as the static version, except here you are not holding the position, but instead raising and lowering your body and legs.

How to Make Boat Exercise Easier

If you can’t hold a pose for more than 3-5 seconds, it’s worth starting to build muscle with simpler variations of the exercise.

Do half the pose

This variation only works with one arm and one leg, making it easy to perform while strengthening your back, limbs, and glutes.

Assume the starting position for the classic boat exercise, then lift the opposite arm and leg simultaneously. Hold for a second, lower and repeat on the other side.

Raise your arms and legs one by one

Get into the starting position for the “boat” exercise. First, lift your arms, shoulders, and chest off the ground, trying to raise yourself as high as possible. At the same time, press your hips into the floor.

Then lower your upper body and raise your legs. Hold them for 1-2 seconds, return to the floor and repeat again.

Bend your arms at the elbows

This variant is a little more complicated than the previous one, but it is also simpler than the classic “boat”. It perfectly strengthens the back and legs, but the load on the shoulders and arms is minimal.

Lie on your stomach, straighten your legs and bend your arms at the elbows. Keep your hands close to your shoulders with your thumbs pointing up. Hold for 15-30 seconds, trying to lift your chest higher and maintain tension in your legs.

How to complicate the “boat” exercise

There are several ways to increase the load on the muscles.

Add a hand gesture

In this version, the back extensors and leg muscles will work statically, and the shoulder and latissimus dorsi muscles will work dynamically.

Rise in the usual “boat”, then bend your elbows and, exhaling, pull your hands to your shoulders, while trying to lift your chest higher. Hold for a second and feel your latissimus dorsi tense.

Return to your usual ship and start over. For an additional load, you can carry 0.5 liter water bottles, light dumbbells or weight plates weighing 1-1.5 kg in your hands.

Complete with a rolled shoulder.

This option, in addition to the main task, will help improve shoulder mobility.

Raise your chest and legs off the floor, move your hands behind your back in a circular motion, while turning your palms up. In the same way, return to the starting position and repeat.

Gain weight

Hang ankle weights and lift light dumbbells (1-2 kg). Perform the “boat” in the usual technique, turning the brushes upwards.

Do not begin to familiarize yourself with the exercise with this variation. Even if you consider yourself a fairly prepared person, an unusual load can damage your muscles.

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