The Anatomy of a Proper Plank

Anatomy of a proper plankThe PLANK – seriously one of THE best exercises, period. When executed properly it effectively works the entire core (front and back) and in particular the lower abs. The effects of this one move far outweigh doing infinite crunches, situps, reverse crunches and obliques. Along with working your core, you work the entire body -glutes, legs, arms, and shoulders.

Form a plank from your forearms to your toes. Ensure that your elbows are under your shoulders and hands forward. Forming a straight line from head to heel (hence plank), keep the core tight, squeezing belly button to your spine and keeping the glutes and legs tight too, contract the lower abs and BREATHE! You can hold this position for a set time (say 30 – 60 seconds) but really; you want to hold this position until you can’t. If your abs are screaming, your back is feeling it or you just can’t maintain that straight line – come out.

Anatomy: Do a body check from head to toe –

  • Your face, shoulders and hands should be relaxed not clenched tight and the rest of the body should be engaged, muscles contracted to support the movement.
  • BREATHE
  • Your head should be in line with the rest of your spine, not hanging down and definitely not resting on your forearms.
  • Your shoulders should be pressed down toward your bum. Create as much space between your ears and shoulders. Also, squeeze the shoulders blades together – sometimes people push their shoulder blades apart for better support. Your posture should be similar to when you stand and we don’t (or shouldn’t) have rounded shoulders.
  • Keep your hips in line with the rest of your spine – this means no bums in the air or sagging hips (too much pressure on your lower back). Also, ensure the hips are level. Many people are stronger (or weaker) on one side of their body and in the case of a plank; one hip will drop lower than the
  • Keep glutes and legs tight or contracted – it actually helps keep you lifted rather than counting on the core to carry the weight of your entire body while the bottom half hangs out.

When you start out, get someone to check your form or use a mirror. As you get stronger, hold the plank longer and when you can easily maintain your position for more than a minute, it’s time to make the exercise harder – which is another post.

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Author: tammyjuco

Motivating and assisting you and your family to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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