Wondering about how to do planks properly? Do you know that knowing how to do Planks is a great way to increase core strength? Surprisingly, it is an exercise that does not require you to move at all? Well, then here we will, into the different ways on how.
The plank exercise engages the abdominal muscles, lower back, arms, and hips. It is also why some exercise has plank variations where it starts or ends with a plank position.
A) Benefits of Plank Exercise
Why do you need to know how to do planks? Even though the plank position does not require any movement, it still pains throughout your body. So why should you know how to do planks exercises? Here we will look into the benefits of doing a plank position regularly.
A1) Plank Position maximize your gain
We know that planks are always a great; exercise for your core. But it also engages the other body muscles other than just your middle. The plank position allows you to work out your hips, legs, arms, chest, and shoulders.
Since it works on several different muscles, at the same time the exercise, helps to stimulate the muscle-building hormones, which can improve your overall strength.
A2) Planks helps with balance and posture
How do planks help with posture and balance?
For your balance and posture, you’ll need strong core muscles.
As a result, planking is beneficial to functional fitness, core strength, and weightlifting.
A3) Helps with Back Problems
Have bad back problems? Then doing planks will help you as it works on your lower back and, from there, it builds up strength without much pressure on your spine. If you are interested in doing fitness- you need to have a strong back as it will help reduce the risk of injuring yourself when working out.
A4) For Fitness
First, you need to know that plank is an isometric core exercise. So what is isometric core exercise? Isometric core exercises are when you hold a position that contracts a muscle that does not lengthen or shorten it when tense.
As a result, it is a great way to build core strength. Also, it helps to burn fat and build endurance.
B) How to Do Planks
When you first start to learn how to do planks, you first push up without moving the arms. For beginners, first, place the elbows and forearms on the floor. The plank exercises can be done with your arms straight and elbows locked directly under your shoulders.
Essentially, what you need to focus on is to hold your middle up that way so that it does not touch the floor and make sure not to lift your hips too high. The core muscles have to be tense that is because that way your, body weight and spine should be neutral.
First, you need to get a soft exercise mat. Why use a soft exercise mat rather than a thicker mat? If the mat is thick, the more difficult it will be for you first, as you will have less stability. That is why it is better to have something slightly thinner. Also, just so you know, you can cushion your elbows, then try to stay grounded while you hold your plank position.
Now lie down on your front and then place your elbows directly under your shoulders and push onto them. Also, make sure to keep your forearms flat on the floor and make sure it’s pointing towards you. Also, make sure to keep both of your feet together while going up onto your toes.
Remember that your spine has to stay flat or neutral – including your head. A better way to understand this is to imagine that your spine has to be a straight pole so that your neck and head are in line with your back. While in this posture, make sure to try not to crank your neck up or bend your neck down because this will affect your overall strength and form.
While in this position, your hips should be square and, your spine has to be flat or straight.
Make sure to keep your balance and check your posture. Make sure not to lift your hips or let the hips dip.
Also, remember to keep your knees are locked and that your legs have to be straight. Also, if you are a beginner learning how to do planks and struggling to do the traditional plank position, it is possible to first start on your knees and then from there to your feet build up to a full plank position. That will help you keep a neutral position.
C) How to do Different; Planks Variations.
Having an exercise routine is a great way to start the day and, if you are starting to learn how to do planks, then it is alright to make plank mistakes or have difficulty in doing a perfect plank correctly. These plank exercises are good for your whole body as it engages; your core, hip flexors, improve body forms and posture. This will help you do a plank properly.
C1) Standard Plank Position
- It is better than standard plank posture when you first start learning how to do planks.
- Starting position is to first place your hands under the shoulders just like you are about to do a push.
- Now press the toes and the glutes ( hip or butt) that will help stabilize your body.
Make sure the neck and spine are neutral by looking at a spot on the floor that is afoot beyond your hands. Also, make sure to keep your head in line with your back.
- Try to hold this position for 20 seconds in the beginning. Once you start to get comfortable with plank: then hold positions without losing the proper form or forgetting to breathe.
C2) Forearm Plank Position
- The forearm plank position is one of the common ways on; how to do a plank and, it’s easier than holding your body with your hand.
- How to forearm plank? First, place your right forearm left forearm on the floor with the elbow and, that should be aligned, below the directly under your shoulders. If your flat palms start to hurt or bother the wrists, then bring both your hands together.
- Remember that the forearm plank should be performed with straight arms or in the forearm position and keep perfect form.
C3) Knee Plank Position
- When it comes to knee planks, it is easier to hold than traditional arm planks, which makes them great for beginners as it allows you to hold your form.
- Also rest, your knee on the mat or towel will make it more comfortable for you. This way, it is a bit easier and less stressful.
- First, lay on the mat with both your forearms flat on the mat, and then make sure that the elbows are directly under the shoulder.
- The next step is to engage your core and then raise your body off the mat while the forearms and knees remain in the same position in a straight line from the head to your knees. Now keep the abdomen engaged while you try to lift the hip.
C4) Side Plank
- The side plank variation engages your core muscles’ sides better than a standard plank.
- First, to do a side plank you, lie on one of your sides with one of your legs stacked on top of another. Put your body up with your hands or elbows on the side while your feet are still stacked.
- To make it easier for beginners, you can cross the upper legs in the front. If you want to increase the difficulty, raise the opposite arm or the leg. Also, it depends on the side you are doing first, then raise the right leg or left leg carefully without much stress.
C5) Single Leg Plank Positions
- When it comes to single-leg planks, you first position the body in the full plank position. From there, lift one leg facing upwards. Make sure to keep moving the leg according to your comfort without hurting the back. Make sure to keep the hips parallel to the or towards the floor that, way it helps alternate the legs.
- An easier way to do a single-leg position is to position your body first in the standard plank position and then lift one of your legs toward the ceiling as much as you comfortably can without compromising or hurting your back. Make sure to keep your hips parallel to the floor, then alternate your legs.
C6) Medicine Ball Position
- This is an intense workout for strengthening the muscles. First, place your hands on the medicine ball and not the floor. ( This exercise is good for engaging your core or core tight the muscles)
- When you are trying to stabilize your body on a ball, it adds a balancing element to the move and increases the demand on the core. First, position your body in standard plank position and then place both your hands on the medicine ball.
C7) Reverse Plank
The reverse plank is the same as the standard plank, but the only difference is that you would be facing the ceiling this time and not the floor.
First, you need to lay down on your back then push your upper body towards the ceiling with the help of your arms extended beneath you. Until then, your body should maintain a straight line. Then hold this position and try not to give pressure to one arm only.
The maximum benefit of the reverse plank is that the entire core, back, posture, hip-width, proper form will feel great after doing these exercises.
D) Avoid Mistakes While doing planks
It is important to know that when you start doing plank exercises or start learning how to do planks, you need to keep some of these factors in mind. This way, it will help you get a good form and posture.
d1) Back Arching While Trying To Keep a Straight line
When your abdomen does not engage in the what happens is that the bodyweight then depends on both the arm support. Here the back would arch which, would put pressure on your spine. So how do we fix the arch and make our position back to a straight line?
First of all, there is a lot of unnecessary shrugging that happens while you are on the plank. So make sure that your shoulders are depressed, and your palms should also be spread wide on the floor.
By broadening your shoulders, it will take the weight off from the upper body and at the same time engage the core muscles.
d2) Lowering the hips
When you start getting tired, or when fatigue hits you, then your hips will begin to sink. Now the in this position, the core muscles will be less challenged and, that will put a strain on your back.
What to do in this situation? It is to keep the hip raised by tucking in your butt and then squeezing your hips. To give yourself a more stable and solid base to keep your feet apart from each other. As you do this exercise, take a deep breath as you contract, as this will engage your abdominal muscles.
This will make help put; your back is in a straight line and if you want to check again, then use an alignment rod.
d3) Looking straight up ahead
While doing planks, this is a mistake that people make is that you turn your head too far by looking towards the ceiling or even straight ahead. What does it do? Is that it strains your neck and, you will lose your form.
So how do we fix it? Keep your eyes looking towards the floor; this way your, neck and head are aligned to the body. Another thing is to draw the chin towards you.
d4) Focusing on the timer
Instead of focusing on how much on time is left, try to focus on the breathing as it will help you focus more on the posture. If your posture or shoulders sink then, take a small break.
d5) Forgetting to Breath While Exercising
Sometimes we hold up our breathe when we are in a position where we exert a lot of strength. But this is not good for your health as it can cause dizziness or nausea.
How do Plank Build Core Muscles?
The majority of the work in a plank is done by your core, even though you are balancing your body weight on your arms and toes. The rectus abdomen, obliques, and transverse abdominal are, used in particular.
The rectus abdominis is the top layer of the abdominal muscles. These muscles are typically seen and referred to as “six-pack” when body fat is low.
During the plank, your inner and outer obliques, as well as your spinal erectors (back muscles), are all engaged. When both sides of your body’s obliques function together, they have a balancing impact, especially; by keeping your ribs and hips in line.
If you need help while doing planks, then consult a professional trainer.
If you have just started working out, don’t worry about making mistakes as you learn how to do planks. As long as you have a workout routine and are consistent, then you shall see the results. I hope this article will help you with how to do planks. Doing plank exercise helps to keep your posture and gives you good form.
It helps in increasing your concentration and, doing exercise will release endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals as it acts as a happiness booster and a pain reliever.
Read more from us here.
While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.
Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.