An oldie but a goodie – the plank is a cheap and cheerful go-to exercise to boost your overall strength.
But, if your form isn’t right, you won’t be so cheerful, and you risk hurting yourself as well as getting no results, rather than building core strength and endurance.
So here are four tips to help you Perfect Your Plank:
1. Get Your Alignment in Check
When you’re lying on the ground on your front, make sure that you’re creating a straight line all the way from your head to your heels.
One of the most common mistakes in a plank is a curved back – keep your bum down.
Make sure your legs are straight and that your shoulders are directly above your elbows as you press your forearms into the ground.
2. Use Your Bum
We’ve already said that you need to keep your bum down, but you also need to engage the muscles throughout the exercise.
Keep your glutes tensed, squeeze your cheeks together. If it helps, imagine you have a coin between your cheeks, and you’ll find it easier to keep that straight alignment.
3. Breathe Deeply
Sometimes when you have your muscles tensed and you’re concentrating on keeping your form, you can forget about your breathing and fall into shallow chest breathing.
Instead, try to breathe deeply into your stomach, keeping your breath calm and controlled. Focusing on your breathing might even help you to forget the pain.
4. Use Your Hands
You might sometimes see people with their hands flat on the ground as they plank, or maybe they have clenched fists, but still keep their hands apart. This is making their plank more difficult, quite unnecessarily.
If you clasp your hands together, you’ll take pressure of your wrists and help to evenly distribute the pressure across your body.