Floor Cobra with Scapular Retraction
This is a progression of the regular floor cobra that involves more arm movement and upper back muscles. Start lying face down on the ground with your arms pointing straight out to the sides. Activate all your back muscles to raise your upper body off the ground. There are two separate things to focus on during the exercise. First, the low and mid back muscles will do most of the work raising your body off the ground. Second, use the upper back muscles to squeeze your scapula and pull your arms towards each other (towards your back).
Keep your head and neck in a straight line (do not bend your neck back when you lift up). Stop if you feel pain or excess tightness in the low back. Perform up to 15 reps and breathe out when you are rising off the ground.
If you have good control and stability and have trained the postural muscles in your back, you can perform the back and arm/scapula movements simultaneously. However, most people get a lot more out of this exercise when they perform the low back portion of the exercise first and then engage their upper back/scapula muscles after they stop rising from the ground. This way, adequate focus and intensity can be applied to the right muscles at the right time.