Today I’d like to teach you how to perform a proper plank. I’m sure some of you are thinking “I know how to do a plank, I’ll just scroll down to this so called killer circuit.”
Do me a favor before you skip ahead; it will take literally 1 minute. I want you to hold an elbow plank for 30 seconds.
Piece of cake. Now what?
Now, I want you to resume the same plank position with the following adjustments:
- Place your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Relax your hands and wrists.
- Don’t round your upper back, the photo below demonstrates an incorrect rounded upper back. Looking up at the wall in front of you will help with this. The photo below demonstrates the correct alignment of your back.
- Don’t let your butt fall too low or raise up too high. If it dips too low that means you are not using your core muscles properly and in turn putting harmful pressure on your back. If your butt raises too high your shoulders and elbows fall out of line. Your core does not gain any strength from the bear plank so stop wasting your time.
- Tuck your belly button up into your back.
- Squeeze your glute muscles, pretend there is a pencil between your butt cheeks and the free world depends on your not dropping that pencil. Ok, that was a little dramatic but you get the idea.
- Now, this is the tricky part, flex/tighten your lower back and oblique muscles. If you are doing steps 4-6 correctly you will find it’s hard to breathe.
- Last, pull your elbows and toes toward each other. Imagine there is a mat underneath you and you are trying to crinkle it underneath you.
I have a feeling you’ll find the second 30 second plank was much more difficult than the plank you thought you were doing correctly all this time.
I always push my clients to get the most of every exercise. I am constantly in their ear reminding them of these simple but effective details. I want to push you to elevate your workout by simply working harder in each and every exercise. You’ll see and feel the results, I promise.
Planks are one of my favorite total body exercises. Along with strengthening the most important muscles in your body (core muscles), planks also engage your glutes and hamstrings, support proper posture, and improves balance.
Try this challenging 5 minute plank circuit keeping in mind what we just learned.
Here are the deets..
Perform each exercise without coming down to the ground at all.
1) Elbow Plank – 1 minute
2) Elbow Plank with Hip Dips – 1 minute
3) Starfish Plank – 1 minute
4) Commandos – 10 each arm
5) Push Ups – 10
6) Elbow Plank – 1 minute
Modify by holding 30 or 45 seconds each and 5 commandos on each arm. But whatever you do don’t come down, that defeats the purpose of the circuit!
Note on planks: if you aren’t strong enough to do an elbow plank yet, start with a push-up position plank. Engage core muscles in the same way and don’t lock your elbows.