The plank is the best core exercise. It develops stability, endurance and strength in your back by resisting rotation, flexion and extension of your spine. The best way for a plank is to practice it over time so that you can perfect it! There are too many mistakes that people make when doing a plank which turns this exercise from being highly valuable to being worthless. We will be discussing some common faults with planks, as well as how best to avoid them for maximum effectiveness!
1. SAGGING HIPS AND OTHER LOSSES OF ALIGNMENT
The most prevalent plank fault is allowing your hips to sink down, also known as spinal extension. Herniated discs or herniated discs can be caused by this drooping. Other misalignment symptoms include The “chicken-pecking” head (where your chin juts forward), shoulders shrugging toward your ears, and hips too high in the air.
To begin, make sure you have the strength to maintain a solid plank. If lack of strength is a problem, try lowering the weight by putting your knees on the ground or raising your upper body onto a bench, step, or TRX suspension trainer. After that, try standing next to a mirror and searching for neutral alignment: your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles should all be in perfect alignment. If you’re still unsure about your alignment, this entertaining Perfect Plank app will observe key points in your body and guide you into a perfect plank.
2. NOT BRACING TIGHT ENOUGH
Instead of “how tight” while holding a plank, your brain is probably wondering how long.” If your body is not completely tense, it may hang out in the joints, which is not only ineffective but can also put you at risk of spine and shoulder injury.
Think of tightening each muscle group one by one as you get into your push-up: Your shoulders, core, and forearms are last. Other measures for achieving total-body stiffness include pushing your heels back and driving your forearms downward and apart. These two movements not only help to create tension, but they may also aid in the alignment of your entire body.
3. SCAPULAR WINGING
The “scapular winging” disadvantage, which follows number 2 on this list, is the backward collapse of your scapula and chest into the plank.
This blunder is yet another consequence of “hanging out in the joints,” therefore, you must be more engaged in your shoulders. Imagine juice orange in each armpit while pressing your forearms or hands into the ground.
If you’re doing a hand plank (rather than a forearm plank), pretend your hands are corkscrewing away from each other, allowing your elbow pits to turn forward.
4. HOLDING THE PLANK TOO LONG
This problem links all of the above concerns together. When you keep a plank for too long, your hips droop, body tension goes down, and your shoulder blades might begin to wing out.
Throw out the notion of “how long” and concentrate on “how tight.” Consider a plank to be like lifting weights in the gym. You get far more out of 10 sets with heavier weights (with excellent form, of course) than 100 sets with a very lightweight. The same is true for planks.
In fact, according to Dr. Stuart McGill, a prominent expert on spinal stability and core strength, holding planks for fewer than ten seconds at a time is beneficial. If you feel as though you can do more, hold the plank for 10 seconds, take a 2–3 second reset, then push yourself back up and repeat. Shorter, stouter planks result in a reduced risk of splintering and greater core strength and endurance.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The plank is a highly effective resistance training exercise, but only if you do it correctly. Once you’ve mastered your technique and are ready to move on to the next level, try this Essential Plank Workout or this 4-Week Core Challenge, which includes a variety of plank positions and other core activities.