How to Do A Plank Properly

The core does not only exist to contract or bend over and over again, to twist and rotate, but also to resist rotational force. We need strong cores in order to maintain a stable torso while putting in work, whether it’s lifting heavy things, carrying a heavy load, or transferring power from our hips while throwing a punch or a ball. Having that stable, strong core with the capacity to resist the influence of outside forces working to make it rotate or twist or bend is just as important as having the capacity to perform a million situps. Enter the plank. The key to success with it is right there in the name: you’re forming an immovable, stiff plank with your entire body. From toes to head, you must be firm, not flaccid. Proper Plank Form Planks seem like the simplest exercise imaginable, and while they aren’t that complicated, there are a few things to keep in mind. Get in the pushup position, only put your forearms on the ground instead of your hands. Your elbows should line up directly underneath your shoulders. Toes on the ground. Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abdominals. Imagine you’re pinching a quarter between your butt cheeks. Look at the ground to keep a neutral neck and spine. You may feel like your chin is tucked a bit. Tuck your pelvis. Instead of arching your back, do a slight pelvic tuck to really engage your abs. The pelvic tuck also allows you to use your quads and push against the ground with your feet. Push against the ground. Shoulder blades should protract. Create a straight, strong line from head to toes. A single cohesive piece. In other words, a plank. Hold that position. What Muscles Do Planks Work? The plank is a total body effort. When you’re in the plank position, every fiber of your being is resisting the pull of gravity. You must engage and tighten every inch of musculature in your body to resist collapse and maintain coherence throughout the line your body forms. During a plank, you are quite literally holding the line against the most omnipresent force in the known universe. Your abs are working to keep the spine from collapsing. Your glutes are contracting to support your lower back. Your erector spinae muscles are engaged to keep your spine cohesive and neutral. Your quads are contracting to stabilize your legs. Your hip flexors are activated to prevent your hips from breaking. Your serratus anterior is working to stabilize your shoulders. And on and on and on. You’re placing your spinal column in the most disadvantageous position imaginable, exposed along every inch to the pull of gravity. You’re working everything during a plank. Plank Benefits Research shows that planks make you stronger, particularly in the trunk muscle. They can even increase the thickness of your abdominal muscles. In people who are fairly untrained, simply doing nothing but planks for a few weeks will increase their overall fitness levels. Not just trunk strength, … Continue reading “How to Do A Plank Properly”

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