Plank is a simple but most effective total-body exercise. Holding
the body stiff and straight as a board develops strength primarily in
the core — the muscles that connect the upper and lower body — as well
as the shoulders, arms, and glutes.
A plank is a static exercise, which means the body stays in one
position for the entire exercise. One of the main reason the plank stand
out as a great exercise is that it requires no equipment and can be
performed just about anywhere . Another excellent feature is that the
plank can be preformed numerous ways, depending on your strength and
expertise level. Below are some of the most common forms of a plank,
along with some of the most common plank mistakes.
1. Plant your hands directly under the shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width apart) like the starting position of a push up
2. Ground the toes into the floor and squeeze the glutes to stabilize the bottom half of the body. The legs should be working in the move too, careful not to lock the knees to hyperextension. Make sure that your body is in one straight line
3. Relax the neck and spine by looking at the floor about a foot in front of your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
4. Hold the position for 20 seconds to begin, as you gain strength and confidence increase the length of time.
Fore Arm Plank
This variation, also one of the most common ways to plank, is
slightly easier than holding the body up with just the hands. Place
your forearms on the ground with your elbows aligned below the shoulders
and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance.
This plank is easier than holding the traditional straight-arm plank,
but it’s great place to start, as you can concentrate on your form. By
resting the knees on the ground, there’s less stress on the lower back.
If you knees feel uncomfortable, roll up a sticky mat to rest them on.
This variation is more advance than the standard plank and is great
for your obliques (the side muscles of the core). Lie on one side with
your legs stacked one on top of the other and then prop your body up
with your hand or elbow. To increase the intensity, raise your opposing
arm or leg (or both!) in the air. And if you are struggling you can
cross the upper leg in front of your body for additional support.
THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES AND HOW TO FIX THEM
The Mistake: Collapsing Your Lower Back.
The Fix: Instead of compromising your lower back by dipping
your tush, engage your core by imagining your belly button drawing in
toward your spine. This will help you keep your torso flat, and in turn,
the spine safe.
The Mistake: Reaching the Butt to the Sky.
The Fix: Planks aren’t supposed to look like a downward dog. To really
get your core working the way it should in the plank position, keep your
back flat enough so that your abs feel engaged from your top (right
below the sternum) to your bottom (directly below the belt).
The Mistake: Letting Your Head Drop
The Fix: It’s important to think of your head and neck as an
extension of your back. Keep your eyes on the floor about a foot in
front of your hands to neutralize your neck. Try not to tense up your
The Mistake: Forgetting to Breathe
The Fix: It’s human nature to hold your breath when in a strenuous
position for a period of time. But breathing is especially important
because holding your breath for too long can bring on dizziness or