A plank is a full-body endeavor that challenges your trunk, core strength, and endurance. Having a stronger and more stable trunk can allow your upper and lower body muscles to perform exercises with greater power and stability. This can also protect your spine from excess forces and subsequent injury. A strong trunk can also improve your posture and balance.
Sounds great, right? But how do you know if you’re doing a plank properly? A proper plank maintains good alignment between the shoulders and hips to keep the spine in a neutral or flat position. It can be done on your hands or on your forearms, and can be done facing down (front plank) or in a side position. In a front plank, keeping your feet closer together will make the exercise more challenging. Widening the feet to get a bigger stance will make the exercise easier. In both front and side plank versions, you can also place your knees on the ground to modify into an easier position.
The top three mistakes in doing a plank are:
1) Sinking the hips toward the ground. This leads to excess arching through the lower back (and likely lower back discomfort).
2) Sinking into the shoulders, which leads to dipping in the upper back and inadequate support for the upper body.
3) Letting the head fall toward the ground, which leads to craning of the neck and subsequent discomfort.
Our planking motto is, If you’re going to take the time to plank, do it right! Get the most out of your time in an uncomfortable (but oh-so-good-for-you) position. Visit our strength and conditioning services near Santa Monica today to get the most benefits out of isometric moves.