Benefit of Planks (It may look easy, but…)


If you have never tried doing a plank, it may look rather easy, but this is deceiving.   Holding this position takes a LOT of endurance in your abdominal muscles, back muscles and core.  This morning, I was working on core workout and was having aching in my shoulders, so figured a checkup on my plank form was in order… this is the beauty of having photo and video on our phones… its easy to take shots of ourself doing positions and analyze it to see what we are doing wrong!

Reminding myself of proper plank form here and analyzing the mistakes I made, so I will share them with you

  1.  Hold elbows directly under shoulders and place wrists in line with elbows.(I need to avoiding placing my hands too close together, this creates internal rotation and can cause instability at shoulder joint)
  2. Push body up into upper back and hold chin close to your neck (like you are holding a small apple between chin and throat).  I need to to tilt my chin more towards my chest to reduce strain on my neck and allow me to more fully use my abs and pull my belly button in)
  3. Hold abdominals tight, contracting them, squeeze your buttock muscles and thigh muscles at the same time while breathing regularly (don’t hold your breath)
  4. Hold plank 20-30 seconds, rest then repeat (I was trying to hold the plank too long and was losing my form…I learned its better to do short planks several times, than trying to do one long plank with loss of form!)
  5. Start doing plank using elbows and toes (drop to knees if needed) and progress to high plank when you feel you have developed the necessary strength

These are hard!  …What do we need to do planks for?

  1.  Reducing back pain!   Planks help back pain because they strengthen your core which helps to reduce back pain.  It especially helps lower back pain and because there is minimal movement in the exercise, the chance of injury is very low.
  2. Improve balance and posture!  Having a strong core helps posture and balance.  There are various types of plank exercises which work the core from all angles such as side planks as well.
  3. Tone up core!  Planks are good for working on the deeper core muscles that give a good foundation for tightening up those abs!

There are many benefits to doing work on our core which I wrote about in another post in the recent past…take a few minutes to check that out…I posted a video and tips to help you get started on building your core on that post.

For today, I am glad I took the time to learn about how to improve my plank form and will build on this moving forward.  I typically do plank work almost every day, so having proper form is so important so that I do not injure myself!  I hope that you found this helpful and will take some time to work on your core strength each day.  Every 20-30 seconds you put in doing a plank will make a difference and will be worth it!

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