The Plank can be quite a deceptive exercise. At first glance it looks like a relatively simple exercise, but I am sure you’ve heard the saying looks can be deceiving and this is certainly an apt description for this exercise.
So I can excuse a person’s less than enthusiastic response to the suggestion of incorporating a regular dosage of plank action into their lives.
It is quite a shame, because that misplaced scorn could lead them to depriving themselves of one of the most beneficial core exercises around.
When done properly the plank strengthens your entire body, providing a lot of stimulation for the core, the grossly neglected lower back muscles and also builds up useful shoulder stability and strength. The plank is one of those single move exercises that helps develop strength in the whole body; the core, shoulders, arms, and glutes.
Again maintaining the Forge ethos to movement and exercise we try to make our workouts location and equipment independent, so that we can practically and consistently pursue a life of vigor and strength. No equipment is needed! All that you need is a small place for you get down into the push up position.
How is the plank done Jay…
- Get down into the press up position, once there bend your elbows to 90 degrees and support your weight on your forearms and toes.
- Make sure that your elbows are directly under your shoulders, and that your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet.
- To facilitate this straight line … you must engage or brace your abdominal muscles. Just imagine Mike Tyson is about to punch you in the belly and you want to lessen the damage your abs would receive from such a blow; This is the engagement I am talking about!
- Hold this position for as long as you can pay attention to all these details, such as maintaining the correct position and engaging your abs. You will soon start to see why this such a beneficial exercise.
- Once you can hold this for 1 min you are well on your way to getting a strong core.
Like I said this a deceptively challenging exercise, especially if you have been sedentary for some time or you’re not use to much movement.
When you first do this, it’s not uncommon for people to feel an uncomfortable sensation in the neck and lower back, this is an indication of weakness in the upper and lower parts of the spine. If this is the case the best approach is to take things a little easier.
Instead of resting on the elbows and toes, you can drop your knees so that there is a further point of support to help bear your weight until your core gets stronger.
What else should I look out for Jay…
Well Forge fitter, that’s a good question and there are 3 common mistakes that are made when it comes to the plank that should be avoided.
3 Common Plank Mistakes
1. Dropping your hips, head, or shoulders … Keep strong and firm!
2. Holding your breath … your body needs oxygen!
3. Trying to hold the position for too long … I understand the desire to progress and improve, however this can lead to injury. It’s a better for you to build up to longer holds. So aim at maintaining proper form for a shorter period of time than holding improper form for longer period … there is no benefit in that.
If you were looking to give your core some love, you can’t go wrong with a properly executed plank. Your body will move and feel better by … not moving. The irony!
Until the next post, do what you can to …