Planks are one of the most effective workouts you can do. They work all parts of your body at the same time giving you a better full-body workout. Planks are also great because they achieve substantial results in a relatively short amount of time. Work your core and support your spine by doing planks everyday.
Planks don’t require any equipment and can be done pretty much anywhere. Perfect your form and avoid common mistakes by reading below.
- Maintain a Neutral Spine
A perfect plank includes more than just squeezing the glutes, flexing the quads, and bracing the core. It also requires you to fully align the spine in a neutral position. By aligning the spine along with firing your muscles, you will keep your abs working through the whole plank. If your spine is not in a neutral position, your back, especially the lower lumbar will get overworked. If you feel your back, you are most likely out of position and something is off. Instead of compromising your back, engage your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine. You can also have a friend place a yardstick on your back right between your shoulder blades and should be placed touching both your head and your butt.
2. Keep Elbows directly Under Shoulders
Forearms should be shoulder-width apart with elbows directly under shoulders. Pull your shoulder blades down your back and open your chest. Keeping your wrists and elbows stacked directly underneath your shoulders protects your wrists from pain that can cause aches and pain hours later. Make sure your fingertips are inline with your elbows to work both sides of your body evenly.
3. Brace Core, Exhale Gently
Planks can work your core just as well as any ab workout, but only if you are mindfully engaging your abs. Keeping your abs firing the whole time is the best way to plank. Also, it’s important to not hold your breath while doing a plank. As you breathe out you can pull your abs into an even tighter brace. Inhale and exhale gently while keeping your abs tight to perform a proper plank.
4. Squeeze Quads & Glutes
Another common mistake is putting your butt in the air. When you do this you are not engaging your hips and glutes resulting in your abs not being engaged. When you squeeze your quads and glutes, you get your hips in the right position and that allows the abs to fire. Squeeze your glutes by acting like their is a quarter between your cheeks.
5. Press Toes into the Floor, and Heels Back
Position your feet at a distance where the hands and shoulders are properly stacked and the body is in a straight line. Plant your toes firmly for support, flex your ankles, and press your heals away from your head. Your toes and heels should be touching as the toes press straight down into the floor.
Planks are a complex exercise that can be improved by simple movements and attention to detail. By following these 5 tips you can perfect your plank that will help you achieve perfect form and engage all muscles involved. Also, when performing planks remember it is more important to have the correct form than to hold it longer but use incorrect form. It isn’t worth sacrificing form and safety for a few seconds. By devoting a few minutes of your day to doing planks you are one step closer to staying fit, healthy, and strong. When doing any type of muscle building workout make sure you are also eating the right amount of protein. Check out our store to replenish yourself after a workout.