I was just invited to a Facebook event for planking.  The goal is to do a plank every day for 30 days while increasing your time each day.  You start with 20 seconds and are eventually up to 5 minutes by the end.  Awesome right?  I decided to take it a step further and post a comment on the event to ensure everyone was completing a plank properly since my main concern is safety while exercising.  I think these challenges are awesome but so many people start a fitness initiative without any background knowledge and then wonder why they suffer from back pain.

plank

Here are my 10 steps on how to achieve the perfect plank for maximal results.

1) Place elbows underneath your shoulders. If they are too far forward you risk impinging the shoulder joint.

2) make sure your hands are not in fists or holding onto a mat if you’re performing the plank on a mat. Keep the hands open so you promote blood flow.

3) Keep your head looking just in front or if you’re working on a mat, look at the edge of the mat. This will ensure you keep your airway open and proper body alignment.

4) Keep up tall on your forearms, don’t slump into your shoulders. Retract your shoulder blades together so you are utilizing your back muscles too…..not just your chest (as we get tired our bodies tend to ‘cheat’ and we hold everything up with our chest muscles because they are what we use to do work with. You don’t want to end up with a hump on your back[which is due to tight chest muscles and weak back muscles] so always ensure you engage your back muscles)

5) pull your ribs up so they are in a neutral position. This will ensure your back does not sway.

6) pull your belly button up towards your spine. This will ensure your core muscles are engaged.

7) Ensure your bum doesn’t start going up in the air. Your bum/hips should be in alignment with the rest of your body, not in a pike position/downward dog. This will result in using your chest and upper body as opposed to your entire body which a plank is supposed to work.

8) Engage your quads by pulling your kneecaps up to your hips.

9) Be up on your toes and send your heels to the back of the room so you ensure a straight line from your head to your heels.

10) Ensure to breath (inhale & exhale). Do not hold your breath as this could result in feeling lightheaded/dizzy.

Happy planking!!

 

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