Perfecting the Plank: Best Body Weight Exercise
The plank hold is one of the single best exercises for safely and effectively strengthening the abdominal muscles while protecting the back.
- Initiate the plank position by stiffening the muscles that surround your torso and lifting your stomach. Your body should be in straight alignment from your shoulders to knees. Make sure your back does not sag down or your butt stick up in the air.
- Do not push from your hands. Using your shoulders instead of your abs to get into position is cheating, and you will feel pressure, pain or fatigue in the top of your shoulders. You also want to be tall through your scapula engaging a muscle called the serratus anterior.
- Keep your chin tucked and your head up inline with your body.
- Pretend you are on a slippery hard wood floor with socks on, your stomach should be contracting so hard that your feet would not slip out from under you.
- If you feel anything in your back, you are doing the exercise incorrectly. Regroup and focus on initiating from your abdominal muscles only, and not from your shoulders or legs. Try dropping your butt down and squeezing your stomach more to get the pressure out of your back.
Start with 30 seconds and progress to holding for 2 minutes.