Plank is an isometric strength exercise that requires maintaining engagement of the core muscles for an extended period of time. The most common plank is the front plank which is held in a push-up position with the body’s weight distributed onto the arms, legs and toes. Amanda Rose, from Amanda Rose Wellness reminds us that form is key.
Why do I plank?
- It requires complete concentration and focus.
- It strengthens the lower back, rectus abdominis (your eight-pack) and the transverse abdominis (the corset of muscles that hug your middle).
- It builds strength in the stabilizer muscles of the back (traps, rhomboids, rotator cuffs), all three parts of the shoulders, chest muscles, biceps, triceps, butt, quadriceps and calves.
- It doesn’t require any fancy or expensive equipment.
- It promotes good posture and prevents back injuries by teaching your core to stay contracted in a regular standing position.
There are so many variations of plank that you can always try modifications to challenge yourself. Such examples include side plank, single leg plank, single arm plank, TRX plank and revolving plank.
Did you know? The longest time in abdominal plank position is 1 hour 20 minutes and 05.01 seconds and was achieved by George Hood in Naperville, IL, USA on December 3, 2011.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform the plank at home:
- Come into a narrow push-up position with your shoulders directly over your elbows and your elbows directly over your wrists. Arms are perpendicular to the floor and torso is parallel to the floor.
- Spread your fingers and press the bases of your index finger deeply into the floor.
- Squeeze the muscles of the biceps and triceps. Press your outer arms inward.
- Firm your shoulder blades against your back and spread your collarbones away from the sternum.
- Press your quadriceps or front thighs towards the ceiling. Activate the shin and calf muscles. Push into the ground to help lift the body up.
- Keep your spine in a neutral position and your back flat. Picture your body as a long straight board or plank. Get it?
- Tuck the tailbone down and lift the pubic bone up. Keep the navel in. Contract the abs towards your spine.
- Lift your head away from your neck and gaze down towards the floor.
- Breathe. Smile 🙂
- Hold as long as you can. Aim for 20-30 seconds in the beginning and work your way up to one minute or longer as you get stronger. Repeat two to three times.
Eager to try the plank? Check out ZaxFit Extreme Core Challenge!