Everyone knows the plank, not many people love the plank! It strengthens the core muscles involved in ‘anti extension’ which is basically any movement that resists extending the lower back. This exercise uses all of your abdominals, as well as glutes, legs, arms, and shoulders, doesn’t it just sound magical?
In 2018 a study was conducted, where 30 people of both genders who had lower back pain (for more than two weeks) were asked to do 5 plank exercises every day for three weeks. The results have shown that a plank not only strengthens various muscle groups, but also reduces back pain and improves the quality of life.
The key to the perfect plank is keeping your hips in line with the rest of your body, don’t stick your bum in the air and equally don’t let it fall towards the floor making an arch in your back…easier said than done! It is crucial to focus on doing the plank correctly, otherwise you might hurt some muscles, or even worse – suffer for no result!
The best way to start is from kneeling, come onto your forearms with your palms flat on the floor, next you need to activate your thigh muscles to straighten your legs. If you really push your elbows into the floor, then your shoulder blades will open up. Next tuck your tailbone, squeeze your glues and draw your stomach in, try pulling your feet towards your elbows and vice versa. Now for the hard part…hold it!
If you’re not used to it, then try holding for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. As you get used to holding the plank position, try and extend how long you’re holding it for. See if you can work up to 2.5 minutes and again, repeat 3 times.
As plank activates all your muscled it might be a good idea to do it in the very beginning of your workout as a mini warm up (it does not substitute a proper warm up). Next time you roll your yoga mat out to exercise start with a series of planks switching from the regular elbow plank to the side ones.
If you stick to the instructions and do it often enough, there’s a chance you will love this exercise at some point. Good luck! You can do it!
Your Glow Concierge
I’m so bad at Plank. Definitely need to book in with a trainer to keep me accountable! x