The plank works almost every muscle in your body and is one of the best core strengthening exercises out there (when performed correctly). Unfortunately, a majority of the people I see doing a plank are far more likely to injure themselves before they see any of the benefits.
Here are my top 5 tips to perfecting your plank so you can be the best planker in the gym!
1. Perform your plank next to a mirror
It is so hard to tell where your body is in space without visualising it. For example, a lot of people sink their hips down to the ground and round their upper back when they perform a plank. If you can visualise where your hips and shoulders are, then you can continually correct yourself and hold your plank for longer.
2. Avoid looking like a breakfast dish
I’m sorry what? Ok so one thing I observe way too frequently is people sinking their hips right down to the ground when they are in a plank position. This will not only put pressure on your lower back causing pain, but it also means that your core is not working to its full potential. Look in the mirror and make sure that your body is in a straight line and that your lower back is not resembling a breakfast dish AKA forming an inwards curve.
3. Imagine that you are trying to fit into a pair of pants 2 sizes too small
5. Listen to your lower back
All too often, people plank incorrectly and it causes their back to hurt, which only means they are not doing it properly! Your lower back should never hurt when you do a plank so if it starts to hurt, simply lower back down, reset your posture and start again. Try holding it for less time or drop your knees down and get stronger in this position before progressing to lift your knees off the ground. Practice holding your plank for 10 seconds at a time and repeat x5-10.
Best of luck planking!
Owner/Founder Duo Pilates
Alex is a Registered Nurse and qualified Pilates Instructor who has combined her love for pilates and experiences as a nurse, to form a passion for educating and inspiring people to use movement as a preventative to many health problems.