When it comes to building core strength, planks are one of the best exercises that can be done anytime, anywhere. There are tons of variations, progressions and modifications — not to mention adding weight and props to change them up! While this is a relatively simple exercise to practice, there are a lot of cues you should keep in mind in order to get the most out of your plank position. A proper plank is very challenging and will have your whole body shaking.
here are some things to think about from head-to-toe to perfecT your plank!
1.) Keep your head in line with your spine and imagine there is a thread pulling from the top of your head to add length. Visualize space between each vertebra.
2.) Press your shoulders down away from your ears and imagine your scapulas drawing back and down your spine — this will cue your chest to come slightly forward.
3.) Every time you exhale, draw your ribs inward and feel your muscles wrap around you like a corset.
4.) Draw your belly button upwards towards your spine to engage your abdominals.
5.) Drop your tailbone slightly to the floor to engage your lower abdominals. Imagine there is a laser beam coming out of your pubic bone shooting down into the floor. This will help you align your pelvis.
6.) Engage your glutes to ignite your core while drawing your inner thighs together. This will help you avoid tapping into your hip flexors to hold the position.
7.) Push back into your heels to engage the backs of your legs.
8.) Keep your body completely parallel to the floor throughout the exercise. Make sure you aren’t sticking your booty up in the air!
Ready to take your plank up a notch? Try these variations!
Body saw: Move your plank forward an inch and back an inch. Focus on drawing your belly button upwards toward your spine every time you move backward to maintain a parallel position.
Spiderman: Draw your right leg up towards your arm and tap your right tricep, then lengthen your leg back to a plank position. Repeat on the left side and continue to alternate this movement.
Arabesque Pulses: Lift your right leg a few inches off the floor and pulse upwards 8-16 counts. Repeat on the left side. Make sure you aren’t hyperextending your lower back to complete the movement.