If you have ever worked out with us, you know we love a good plank! But we don’t know too many people who get as excited about doing planks though. Usually you find yourself staring at the timer waiting for it to hit zero. Let’s be honest- planks are a killer, but holding one makes you feel pretty strong! For a basic isometric exercise, planks strengthen your entire body. From your abs to your back, from your glutes to your shoulders, everything is working to maintain that position.
So why do we love planks? They are both functional and challenging! Working your spine in a neutral position maintains the natural curvature and doesn’t add extra pressure on the vertebrae. You want your core to be strongest in this position- think of maintaining good posture. When it comes to core strengthening exercises, working those muscles in a neutral position will carry over to day to day activities.
How do I do a plank? Glad you asked! 😉
- Starting on the ground, lay on your stomach, bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
- Elbows should be lined up directly beneath your shoulders with your body in a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Lift your hips up off the ground keeping contact only with your forearms and feet.
- Tighten your core, maintain strong shoulders, flex your quads, and squeeze your glutes. Don’t forget to breathe!
- Hold the position for as long as you can. Your goal should be to hold it for as long as your can!
You can modify this exercise by doing a bent-knee plank. As you build up your strength, progress to a full plank. If you’re looking to increase the challenge, try these variations!
- Lift one leg up. Raise one leg in the air (lifting from the hip) and you will increase the demand on your core to fight your body’s natural urge to rotate.
- Lift one arm up. Again, your body will want to twist to the side. Don’t let it! Keep your shoulders square to the ground.
- Use a stability ball. Resting your forearms on the ball forces your body to stabilize itself to stop the ball from rolling out from under you.
What is your favorite plank variation? What’s the longest you’ve ever held a plank? Share with us!