Thank the Plank

Keep things simple with this classic core muscles exercise

Photo by Nathan Crowley from Pexels

There are absolutely no excuses for not adding a plank into your life.

“But it hurts,” doesn’t cut it. Think of it as “a good burn”.

Planks are an excellent exercise for not just working your abdominal and core muscles but also for your posture and upper body strength.

You don’t even have to worry about joint aches as all the weight is on your forearms.

As long as you can find somewhere to lie down, you’re ready to go. Your bedroom or living room floor are obvious places to start. You can even drop down and do them in the middle of a dinner party, without being asked.

The only problem you’ll have is which variation to try.

The best place to start is by seeing how long you can hold a plank position.

Set yourself in the push up position, hands under your shoulders, arms straight.

The back of your head, spine and legs should form a straight line.

Image by Taco Fleur from Pixabay

Once you’re comfortable with this it’s time to use the classic plank position.

To further engage your abdominal muscles you can start on your elbows, supporting your body weight on your forearms.

Keep your elbows in close to your body, hands or fist facing straight ahead.

Focus on tucking in your abdominals. Keep a flat, straight back as if you were balancing a tray of scalding coffee.

Photo by Li Sun from Pexels

Set the timer – start!

Holding a strong plank for 1 minute is a great initial goal to aim for. Don’t just stare at the seconds slowly ticking by. For one, it’s boring. You should also be focusing throughout the movement on maintaining good form. Squeeze your glutes (the butt) and thighs to keep your legs straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades to keep your back straight. Keep the abs tucked in.

If your body starts to shake then you know you’re working your muscles. Success!

Hold the plank for as long as you can while maintaining correct form.

When form starts to waver, give yourself a break.

Try to aim at extending the hold time by even a few seconds each time.

You’ll have 1 minute taken care of before long.

The plank difficulty can be increased by slowly raising one foot or hand at a time. This will really test the abdominal and plank muscles but ensuring correct form is obviously crucial.

However just keeping the plank in its simplest form and simply holding it for time is probably the safest bet. Good form is assured and you will continue to get stronger.

If you think longer times are impossible you might be interested to know the world record plank time is 8 hours. By a 62 year old.

We know what you’re thinking – “What did he do about toilet breaks?” and to be honest…it’s probably best not to know.

Planks very much.

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