Reverse plank is quite often very uncomfortable for the backs of the legs. I'd suggest that one reason for this is that the knees aren't stabilized, instead they are kept straight by virtue of the position. There is generally no instruction given to stabilize the knee or to deliverately activate the hamstrings and/or the glutes.
My own preference currently is to activate both the hamstrings and the glutes prior to lifting up into reverse plank.
Often I'll have students engage quads first, then engage hamstrings and buttocks. Then the idea is to keep the hams and glutes engaged while lifting up.
Rather than lifting up as high as possible straight off the bat, I'll often suggest to just lift slightly and get used to keeping the hams and glutes active. As long as the arms and feet are bearing the weight of your body and your butt and legs are clear of the floor then you are doing reverse plank.
As you can see I can't touch the fronts of my feet into the floor for this pose.
I'm not too worried about it though. I don't think that touching the front of the feet to the floor changes the pose that much, not unless the fronts of the feet press down into the floor with enough pressure to actually lift the heels (or at least cause the heels to be lighter on the floor.) But if you are interested in touching your feet to the floor I'd suggest the smartest route would be to focus on lifting the hips higher.
What I do like to play with is flexing the feet and pointing them. With the feet pointed then not only are the glutes and hams activated but the calves as well so that most of the back line of the legs is active.
Another set of actions that I do is to bend the spine backwards and activate the shoulders prior to lifting.
With hips still on the floor I first to use the shoulders to push the chest forwards. Then I bend the lumbar and thoracic spine backwards and at the same time open and expand the front of the ribcage.
This then lenghtens the distance at the back of the hips making it easier to contract the buttocks. Then I activate buttocks and hamstrings and then I lift.
An exercise for improving shoulder awareness while in reverse plank is to relax the shoulders so that the ribcage sinks down (you can also bend the spine forwards) and then reactivate the shoulders to lift the ribcage up.
As mentioned I might start students of with lifting only a short distance. Then on succesive lifts the hips can be pushed gradually higher. Moving slowly up into the pose it can be easier to find the final position with less effort as opposed to just pushing up as fast and as high as possible.
Here I should note that another technique that can make this pose feel easier prior to lifting up is to pusht the hands forwards so that the shoulders pull back.
I think this action naturally cause the backs of the legs to activate, as if to resist the forwards push of the hands by pulling the feet rearwards.
Other variations of this pose include doing it with feet wider and or with feet turned outwards or inwards.
Indeed this was how I first used to do the pose ot make it less uncomfortable while at the same time getting comfortable with internal and external hip rotation and exercising the outer and inner thighs. After these versions, then I'd do regular reverse plank with feet together, and knees pointing upwards.
To make reverse plank easier, try engaging hamstrings and glutes prior to lifting.
Another action is to try and make the knee "strong" or "stable."
Or friction the hands forwards (towards the feet) so that the shoulders pull rearwards (away from the feet.)
If you have trouble with muscle control the Muscle Control Video and ebook includes simple exercises for feeling and controlling muscles and using that control to help improve flexibility.
The Active Stretching Ebook builds up on these exercises.
Make your yoga poses less wobbly with less effort. Grounding and centering are two techniques for creating stability in yoga poses.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
Rather than fighting through joint pain here is an overview of the approach that I've used to help alleviate hip pain, knee pain or shoulder joint pain while doing yoga poses.
Make balancing easier. Use pressure sensitivity to feel your center of gravity.
A yoga approach to how to do squats including how to stay balanced, and avoiding knee or hip pain even while going all the way down.
Camel Yoga Pose or ustrasana is a kneeling pose that can be used to stretch the hip flexors. One key action that may help in getting your pelvis forwards more is pushing your hands forwards, either against your feet or against the floor.
The transverse abdominis can have an affect on sacroiliac joint stability as well as stability of the lumbar spine and the T12/L1 junction.
Fluid tensegrity joint anatomy looks at the tendency of the body to maintain space within the joints. The question is, how is this space maintained?
Why improve body awareness? So that you can use your body more effectively and fix problems yourself when they arise.
How is tensegrity maintained at the joints even as the body adopts non-tensegrity postures or movements?
Why being present is the oppositve of thinking and how to utilize both modes effecively.
Pigeon yoga pose variations include lifting the front hip and resting it on the floor. Learn how to activate the front hip in either variation for better hip control and more effective stretching.
Creating tensegrity in yoga poses. What is tensegrity, why should we aim to achieve it when doing yoga or any other activity where mindfullness is required?
Obturator externus anatomy for yoga teachers. If you have hip pain in forward bends and your hip feels weak, obturator externus may be the culprit.
Yoga stretches for tight hamstrings. Learn to feel when your legs are active and when they are relaxed so that you can gradually stretch tight hamstrings.
An experienced yogi's yoga pose has a sense of bigness. How do you as a beginner add bigness to your yoga poses?
Basic yoga sequence for flexibility. Includes hip, hamstring, quad stretches and neck stretches and recovery exercises.
Back strengthening yoga poses can be used to strengthen the back of the body including hamstrings, glutes and both the lower and upper back.
A look at getting your feet off of the wall and balancing in handstand plus tips for greater arm stability.
Yoga pose sequences for flexibility and strength. These sequences can be used for improving hip and shoulder flexibility and strength.