Planks are an all-around favorite by fitness trainers and fitness enthusiasts around the world, and for good reason.
Here’s are 3 reasons why:
The easiest way to double-check your plank form is to scan your body from head to toe in the plank position. Let’s start from the head and work our way to your toes.
Note: these form notes apply to ALL planks- both on the hands and on the forearms and elbows.
Head + Neck: Utilize your gaze to put your head and neck in proper alignment. Your gaze should be between your thumbs at all times! Think of elongating the back of the neck and continuing the line of the rest of your spine. It’s tempting to drop your chin all the way to your chest and look at your feet, but don’t do it!
Shoulder blades: Before you lift into your plank, make sure you’re ALREADY gently pushing away from the mat with your hands or forearms. You want to pre-set your shoulder blades in a slightly separated position and maintain that in your plank. If you feel your shoulders getting tired very quickly in your plank, evaluate the position of your shoulder blades behind you.
Ribs: Your ribs should be knit together toward your midline, not opening up toward the ground underneath you. Remember that your ribs are attached to your spine, so you’re likely also sinking into your lower back as well!
Lower Back: You’re looking for a straight, lone line from the top of your head all the way out through your tailbone. To keep your lower back in line with the rest of your body, lift your hips a few inches higher until you find that straight line, then imagine someone holding a lighter flame right underneath your belly button to help you draw in your abs.
Glutes: Squeeze your legs tight behind you so you can find your glutes squeezing as well. When the glutes are engaged, you avoid hinging into a downward-facing dog and simultaneously protect your lower back, so squeeze that booty!
Knees: Bonus points for pulling up your knees + engaging your quads underneath you. Not high on my priority list but excellent nonetheless.
Ankles: Find your weight centered over the balls of your feet. If you sit back into your heels, your weight is too far back. If the entire ball of your foot isn’t down, your weight is too far forward.
Find your plank position and play around! Nobody needs to hold a plank for 5 minutes, but find that moment of fatigue and push through PAST your fatigue to reap the rewards of your plank.
Check out some plank variations here and modifications here.
Also, try out your planks in real time in Abs for Breakfast!