How to Properly Perform a Plank

The abdominal plank, or plank, is one of the most common and effective toning exercises, where it might seem like you're doing nothing, but in reality, you're working everything. Discover how to do a plank correctly and include it in your next workout.

What is a Plank and What are its Benefits?

A plank is an anaerobic exercise performed by keeping the body in a straight line from head to feet, supported on the forearms or hands. This exercise is essential for strengthening the core, which includes the transverse abdominals, the pelvic floor, and the muscles around the waist. Additionally, planks activate the shoulders, glutes, and improve posture, balance, and stability without the need for additional equipment.

Steps to Perform a Perfect Plank

Despite its apparent simplicity, it is crucial to follow good technique to shape the body without dying in the attempt. Furthermore, it's important to avoid some common mistakes to maintain a good position and work the abdomen in the most optimal way.

  1. Initial Position: Place a mat on the floor and lie face down.
  2. Arm Placement: Bend your arms and support the body weight on your forearms. Make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders and parallel to the body.
  3. Foot Alignment: Space your feet hip-width apart, resting the tips of your toes on the floor.
  4. Maintain the Correct Posture: Avoid common mistakes such as letting your hips drop, lifting your buttocks, or raising your neck. Keep your back straight, your abdomen and buttocks contracted, and your head and neck in a neutral position.

Types of Planks and How to Vary Your Routine

Once you've achieved the plank position with a straight back, contracted abdomen and buttocks, and a neutral head and neck position, the hard part will just be to hold for at least 30 seconds or 1 minute with the correct posture. Although there is a world record of about 8 hours and 15 minutes in a plank position by a man and 4 hours and 19 minutes by a Canadian woman, it is not necessary to hold for so long, remember that less is more!

Knee Plank: Bend one knee and bring it toward the elbow of the same side while maintaining the plank position.

Side Plank with Movement: Position yourself on one side supporting on a forearm and the edge of the foot on the same side, and perform hip lifts.

Asymmetrical Plank: Try lifting one leg or one arm alternately during the plank.

Frequently Asked Questions about Planks

How do you properly perform an abdominal plank?

The key to a good abdominal plank is in the alignment and muscle activation. Keep your body in a straight line and consciously tense your abdomen during the exercise.

Can you do planks every day?

Yes, you can do planks every day, as this exercise is relatively gentle on the joints. However, it is crucial to give your body time to recover, especially if you are performing more intense variations.

Can you lose weight with planks?

Planks alone do not burn many calories, but when combined with a healthy diet and other cardiovascular exercises, they can be an effective tool for losing weight and improving body composition by strengthening and toning muscles.

Use Planks to Your Advantage

Incorporating the plank into your daily exercise routine can provide you with an effective and versatile method to improve your core strength and stability. It's not only beneficial for athletes but for anyone looking to improve their overall fitness. So, put on your sportswear, grab your mat, and start planking!

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