The plank is one of the best exercises you could do for your core strength, as well as the shoulders, arms and glutes. Though it looks like a simple yet effective bodyweight exercise, it’s in no way easy to do.
Holding your body stiff as a board, feeling your entire weight on your arms and legs, keep it as long as you can. That’s it, you’ve finished the plank. But it’s not as easy as it sounds, or else we would have no reason to be here.
Plank requires no equipment and can be performed almost anywhere, so long as you have the room for it. It will help develop and strengthen your deep inner core. Additionally, you can also sculpt your waistline and improve your posture by doing the plank and its variations regularly. But in order to reap the full benefits from the plank and its many variations, you need to have the perfect forms. Focus on avoiding these common mistakes below.
Looking straight ahead or up
A common mistake with planks has to do with your head position. People tend to look forward or up when planking, which strains their neck and kills their form entirely. The solution to this is to keep your eyes on the floor or mat so as to keep your spine neutral and help you avoid pain or injury. Keep watch on those ants. Keep yourself interested at all times in what’s on the floor so that you can hold the position naturally without constantly remind yourself of it.
Dropping your hips
Droopy hips put pressure on your lower back, and once the hips go, your back will arch. This can happen when your abdominal and arm muscles start to fatigue. To avoid this, stabilize your low back by engaging the core and drawing your bellying button towards your spine. You could also space your feet further apart for a more stable foundation.
When we’re tired, we usually do things that we’re not conscious of, this including piking your shoulders up to the sky, which helps ease off some pressure on your arms but put strains on your neck and shoulders. Round shoulders can also be the result of continuous bad sitting posture. To fix this, try to tweak your posture by sitting up straight while at work, and during planks, pull your shoulder blades down your back and open up your chest, slowly align your shoulders with your head.
Letting your butt touch the sky
If it’s not shoulders, it’s the butt. Yes, sticking your butt up in the air is easier than keeping your body in a straight line. But easier is not what we’re going for here. To truly develop your core with the plank position, hold your back level so that your abs are connected with your sternum. Engage your glutes to increase the challenge, be conscious of your own body in space.
Wrong hand positions
For those who do regular push-ups this can be all too familiar. This happens when our arms are tired, so we sacrifice correct forms for more comfort. It’s not recommended because while at first we might feel more comfortable, doing plank with staggered hand positions will result in wrist pains and aches for hours later. If you feel tired, stop and rest a little, but during planks, make sure the front of your fingers align to work both sides of your body evenly.
Bending your knees
Another mistake we make during planks is bending our knees to give our butts a rest. This can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the plank as well as causing potential aches your upper back. To fix it, straighten your legs out and keep your spine straight, align your whole body so that each body part support each other.
Forgetting to breathe
It’s in human nature to hold our breaths when being put in a tricky, strenuous situation. Like during an intense scene in a horror movie. Not breathing right can cause more harm than you think, one of them includes respiratory dysfunction. Without replenishing enough oxygen for your body also make you feel tired quicker, ruining your form.