Alison’s Fitness & Wellness Corner – The Perfect Plank
Alison’s Fitness & Wellness Corner
Five Reasons You May Not Be Achieving The Perfect Plank
There is hardly a core exercise more notorious than the plank. And when performed “actively” – meaning, you’re engaging every muscle from head to toe – it taxes your entire body. This brings awareness to alignment and posture with intention and strength. Unfortunately, many people passively plank, which visually resembles a proper plank, but doesn’t feel like one, and does nothing to improve core strength.
Check for any of the following mistakes to make sure you’re getting all the benefits.
1. ALIGNMENT: Failing to maintain a straight line between your shoulders and hips usually means there is not optimal tension in the abdominals (stomach muscles) and glutes (buttock muscles). Squeeze hard and focus on maintaining a straight line from head to toe.
2. YOU SHRUG YOUR SHOULDERS: Many people instinctively shrug their shoulders, which doesn’t look or feel right. To fix it, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your forearms toward your hips to maximise core engagement and proper positioning.
3. YOU HAVE SOFT KNEES: If you aren’t pushing your toes into the grounding pulling them towards your head, it likely means that your quadriceps (front of thigh muscles) are not properly engaged, which will create a kink in the tension chain. Keep your legs and torso straight and rigid.
4. YOU MOVE YOUR HEAD: Many people tend to flex and hyperextend their necks, which throws your positioning out. Try to aim your gaze a few inches in front of your fingers to maintain a neutral head position, which in turn helps keep your hips and shoulders aligned.
5. YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN TO STOP: Attempting to set the Guinness world record for the plank time will definitely lead to the downfall of your plank. For a complete beginner, start with three or four sets of 10-second planks with a 4-second rest between each one. This approach will allow you to accumulate sets of proper planks without your form deteriorating. Eventually, you’ll find you can hold your form longer.
Yours in fitness and wellness
The Perfect Plank With Alison
Founder/Owner ~ Body by Alison Caroline and Alison Caroline Institute