Usually a minute goes by really fast. Unless you’re planking! Anyone who has tried to plank knows that the struggle is real. Although this exercise seems quite easy it isn’t that simple. Let’s focus on some important aspects of the plank, the do’s and the don’ts.
Back to basics: Planking
The plank is known as a compound exercise.
This means you use a lot of muscles at the same time. Even though you don’t do any movements in this exercise it still contracts different kind of muscle groups. Starting with your abs. Who doesn’t like a good ab-exercise!? You HAVE to keep those abs tight to get a proper and straight plank. At the same time you have to contract the muscles in your lower back. And if you don’t want to end up with your face on the floor, you also have to use your arms and shoulders.
First of all get a yogamat. You probably can do it without but it’s not that comfy. (Believe us, we’ve tried..). Lie down on the mat with your face down and place your elbows straight under your shoulders. Now get up on your toes aswell. The only body parts touching the floor are your underarms and toes. Try to stay horizontal with your whole body by contracting your abs (suck it in!). There you go, this position is known as ‘the plank’.
Listen to some music and turn up the volume or watch something funny so time goes by faster. Always try to set a goal for yourself. Start with 30 seconds and slowly add some seconds every day. You will notice that in a week your plank skills start to improve. We also recommend to keep a timer like a stopwatch or your phone next to you so you can set your records and smash them next time.
Do not forget to breathe. Seems quite obvious but you really need enough of oxygen for all those muscles that are working their asses off.
If you are a beginner you can start with planking on your knees instead of your toes touching the floor. This will make the plank low-impact. It’s a good alternative for gaining strength and getting used to the plank position. As soon as you’ve managed to do a proper plank you can try the side plank. Just turn your body over to the left or right while planking.
If you are a plank-pro you can try to plank with one leg up or one arm in front of you. Lift your leg for a couple of seconds and switch to the other one when you can’t hold it anymore. You can also try to lift one arm instead of your leg. If you really (REALLY) want to challenge yourself, try to lift your left leg and right arm at the same time.
If you want to intensify the exercise you can use a step or anything else that’s stable enough to put your feet on. Your lower body is higher than your shoulders and elbows which makes it harder for your core muscles to keep your body straight.
You don’t really need any equipment for this exercise. However we would recommend a yoga mat. And besides that you can do it anytime and anywhere.
We would say this is enough information about the plank, so for all the Fit Girls out there: let’s give it a try! And if you want to become a planking pro, try our 30 day Plank Challenge!