“Core” has been a very common buzzword in the fitness industry over the past few years and is made up of the muscles of the low back, hips, abdominals, and pelvic floor. The core helps support the spine and provides stability and balance to the body when performing daily activities, working out, or in sport specific movements. This article will introduce you to one of my favourite exercises, known as the plank. Not a lot of space or equipment is required to perform this exercise so there are no excuses as to why you can’t give it a try. A lack in core strength commonly results in low back pain; therefore, to prevent injury and improve core strength and stability try doing the plank at least once a day.
How to do the PLANK:
1.) Begin the exercise on by lying on your stomach with your legs straight and elbows and forearms underneath your chest.
2.) Move into the plank position by lifting up into a bridge, balance on your toes and forearms with the head relaxed and eyes looking at the ground. The torso should be straight with an imaginary line running from the ears to the toes, the back should be flat and hips should not be sagging towards the ground. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and suck your belly button in towards your spine to ensure you are recruiting the abdominal muscles correctly.
3.) Hold the plank position as long as possible and the exercise is over once proper form is lost and there is no longer a straight line from the shoulders to the feet. Beginners should try doing this exercise in front of a mirror so you can watch form be sure to get the most out of the exercise.
Begin timing the exercise once you have moved from the ground into the plank position and the timer is stopped once form is lost and you are no longer able to maintain a flat back. I recommend beginners start by trying to hold the plank position for 10 seconds and then gradually increase the time as you feel comfortable.
Perform the plank every night before bed and begin to feel your core strength and stability improving. It’s very rewarding to challenge yourself and feel your strength improve by the length of time you are able to hold the position. Give it a try tonight!!
More questions about the plank? Email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com
Michelle Roots BA Kin, CSCS, PES