When it comes to building core strength, it can pay to get low. Just ask Jasmine Tookes, Victoria's Secret Model and known fitness buff. Tookes posted an Instagram video earlier this week from her workout at NYC-based gym Dogpound of her demoing a core-centric move that's all about slow, steady, and controlled lowering of the torso.
"This move is known as 'fall outs,'" Kirk Myers, CEO/founder of Dogpound and Tookes' trainer at the gym, tells SELF. "But I mostly just call it 'mopping the floor.'" Meyers also shared the move on his Instagram account, @kirkmyersfitness.
The move is “mostly core” focused, says Myers, though it also works your upper body, including your triceps and latissimus dorsi (the lats), the broadest muscles on each side of your back. Because of the difficulty of the move, it can also elevate your heart rate and provide sneaky cardio, he adds. On top of that, “it’s fun,” he says, and a good way to spice up your regular core circuit.
Though the move may look easy, especially when performed correctly like Tookes demos, it’s not. “This is more advanced,” says Myers. “It’s not necessarily a beginner move. You have to already have some core strength [to do this correctly].” Just like you would in a traditional plank, “you want to make sure you keep your core super tight and keep your back flat,” says Myers. This will protect your lower back as you complete the lowering slides.
Here’s how to do the move:
There are several tools you can use to perform this move. You can opt for the sliderboard and towel (like Tookes uses), or simply use an ab wheel. You could also do this on the floor with a slider, or a paper towel. Once you have your tool(s) of choice, grab an exercise mat and you’re ready to go.
- Get down on all fours and place your knees on the mat and your tool(s) out in front of you, off the mat.
- Place your hands on the towel or sliders, or grip the ab wheel.
- Brace your core to create a flat back. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your core tight and engaged, slowly slide your hands forward as far as you can while maintaining a flat lower back.
- Once you’ve lowered yourself to your limit, slowly slide your arms back in toward your body to lift yourself back up to the starting position, continuing to engage your core throughout.
- This is 1 rep. Do 8 to 10 reps.
Though you ideally want to lower yourself far down enough that your face is within an inch of touching the board or the ground, says Myers, that much distance isn’t recommended for beginners. “You don’t want to extend too far and potentially hurt your lower back,” he says. Instead, try lowering about six inches at first, and progress from there. It can be helpful to mark a target distance ahead of time (you could use a yoga block or your trainer’s hand, suggest Myers) so you know exactly how far to extend your arms.
On the other hand, if you can easily do 20 reps as outlined above, increase the difficulty by grabbing two towels or sliders and placing one hand on each. From here, roll out with just one arm at a time. You can also amp up the difficulty by doing this move—either the double-arm or single-arm version—on your toes. In case you're curious, here’s an extreme progression of this move, as demoed with an ab wheel by actress, singer, and Dogpound client Cynthia Erivo.
No matter what iteration you attempt, stay vigilant about your form. “If you don’t do this correctly [e.g. if your core isn’t braced and your back isn’t flat], you can really hurt your lower back,” says Myers. Also, keep you movements “nice and controlled,” he adds. Myers recommends lowering for four counts and lifting for three.