How To Perform The Plank Exercise
Today, most people have been advised to carry out exercises because of the changing lifestyle inorder to remain fit and healthy. There are many different exercises but this article talks mainly about the prank exercise. The plank exercise is actually a balance and core conditioning exercise. In fact, in yoga the plank exercise is usually done as part of the sun salutation sequence or even as part of a vinyasa in the yoga flow sequence. However, you can also perform the plank exercise as a stand-alone exercise. On the other hand, there are 2 major types of planks which include a full plunk which involves one to balance on both arms and side plank that involves balancing on just one arm.
METHOD 1: HOW TO PERFORM A FULL PLANK:
- Begin on a yoga mat while in a push push-up position: this is because starting with the push-up position is the easiest way to get into the plank exercise. The yoga mat will also ensure that you attain some comfort while doing the plank exercise.
- Lower all your forearms onto the ground with both the elbows and fists flat to the ground: while doing this step, ensure that both palms are balled-up and directly underneath your shoulders while the rest of your body is raised up with the feet touching the floor.
- Gently curl the toes under and begin to engage your abs by simply tilting the pelvis while pulling your belly button towards the spine. This can be difficult to do but with time you can get used to doing it.
- Straighten the body while keeping your spine and neck neutral. Try to ensure that your neck and spine are neither arched nor rounded while straightening your body. Also keep the eyes on the floor in-front of you instead of letting your head hang down-wards or even looking up-wards. To achieve the best, just imagine that you are a plank of wood and you are straight like an arrow.
- Gently flex the abdominals, squeeze your gluteus and don’t let your hips sag: this implies that your body should be like a single strong line from the head to your heels. This can be tiresome but will to work out the entire body and should try to do it for some good time.
- Hold the plank position for about 30 to 60 seconds or until your form begins to deteriorate but go with whichever comes first: rest abit and then repeat these planks for several sets. You should also feel the effort mainly in the abdominals and gluteus but not in your back. In case you notice that your back muscles are getting tired, stop and rest even when you have held planks for a short period of time. Try to prioritize working on the correct muscles while targeting to achieve a certain number of seconds and infact, with time the body will increase on the length of time you can hold the plank while using your abs and gluteus. on the other hand, in case you get hard maintaining a straight line with your body or feeling the effort in the abdominals, then try to begin with an incline plank. This involves keeping the toes on the floor while the body remains straight like a line, but gently elevate the hands and elbows on either a bench or chair. Most people actually find this position easier to maintain with proper body form but with time you will have to gradually progress to lower objects until you are capable of doing a plank on the floor.
- Attempt advanced progressions: incase you have mastered the full plank with perfect body form, try to challenge yourself with more difficult variations. However, don’t progress to these challenges not until you feel that you are strong enough to keep the body straight and stable throughout the entire movement. These progressions may actually include:
- A single leg plank: this involves keeping the body straight and stable while slowly lifting one foot at a time off the ground.
- A single arm plank: it involves keeping the body stable while slowly reaching one arm out in front of you, then gently returnthe armonto the floor. You have to repeat with the other arm and also continue to alternate. But try to resist the urge of letting the hips move to opposite side of the extended arm.
- A stability ball plank: this can be done by placing the elbows and forearms on a stability ball while slowly moving slowly moving these arms in small circles but keeping the rest of your body steady. This is because it only takes a small movement to create a big challenge.
METHOD 2: HOW TO PERFORM A SIDE PLANK:
- Start by lying on the left side: grab a yoga mat and then lie the whole left side of your body on it while stretching the arm under straightin front of your head with the legs straight.
- Use the left-arm elbow to prop the rest of the body: your left-arm elbow should be directly underneath the left shoulder while aligned with one the other. The right arm should be resting on the right-side of the shoulder and only the forearm on the floor with its elbow should support your weight. However, ensure that the forearm is pointed perpendicular to your body.
- try to tighten your abs and gluteus:this can be achieved by holding the side plank pose with all the weight put on the left arm elbow aligned straight on the from the floor.
- Go for a more challenging side plunk pose: in case you wish to go for a more challenging pose, then try to lift the hips and prop your entire weight on one hand. After, extend the right arm up into the air and try to hold that pose for a while.
TIPS TO CONSIDER WHILE PERFORMING THE PLANK EXERCISE:
- Do the prank exercise every morning for about 20-seconds and go for 3-reps. also the stretching involved in this exercise is good for those who want to achieve a flat stomach but don’toverdo planks.
- You may also try to lift your top leg in both full and half side plank exercises in case you want to make it more challenging.
- Keep the elbows at the sides when doing a full or half prank and also bend the arms at 90-degree angle some variation called the staff plank.
- Try to keep the knees on the floor when doing a half plank or you can even keep the bottom knee on the floor while doing a half side plank.
- Keep the forearms on the ground with your bent elbows beneath the shoulders when doing a low plank which is also commonly known as the dolphin plank.
- Always lift one foot to about 0.3m off the ground in a full, low or half plank to achieve more core conditioning. You try to hold this position for approximately 5-seconds then alternate to the other leg.