It's your FAVOURITE core exercise: THE PLANK! Scroll down to learn the PROPER PLANK FORM and to learn ALL THE MUSCLES in this exercise!
Let's do a perfect Plank together and fix that God-awful posture of yours!
1. Start by lying on your stomach (prone), with your arms about shoulder-width apart.
2. Your feet should only be about hip-width apart.
3. Now, the position of your arms and elbows can vary. Elbows can be bent or straight. Hands can be clasped together, or apart. Do what is MOST comfortable for you! (We're not targeting these muscles, so the position of the arms and elbow doesn't matter.)
4. Keep your back "straight." (I MEAN "NEUTRAL"... I can feel my fitness teachers SCREAMING at me for using the word "straight"...) Face downward (or slightly upward) to keep your FULL spine aligned as well.
5. You should be feeling this exercise in your CHEST, BACK and SHOULDERS mostly. It's absolutely okay if you're shaking a lot!
6. To get the most out of a Plank, hold the position for minimum of 20 SECONDS.
*Make sure your spine is aligned the whole time! Face downward to make sure your spine is aligned.
*You should be feeling it mostly in your chest, back and shoulders.
*"Shaking" is absolutely okay! It just means your muscles are contracting slightly to hold you in place.
LET'S TALK ABOUT ALL THE WONDERFUL MUSCLES USED IN A PLANK. The Plank is one of best core exercises out there because it helps keep EVERYTHING aligned: from your head straight down to your feet. Because a Plank is an exercise where you hold one position, your muscles work by STAYING contracted for a certain length of time. Doing a Plank every day can have great improvements on your back, chest, posture, spine, walking gait and more!
Most of all, the Plank is the PERFECT exercise for targeting your BACK. When you hold the Plank position, the huge muscle group in your BACK, called the ERECTOR SPINAE GROUP (which consists of the Spinalis, Longissimus and Illiocostalis Muscles), contracts isometrically (held in contraction - causes your body to shake a lot!), which helps fix, improve and maintain your posture and spine alignment. While the muscles in the Back contract, your ABDOMINAL muscles also do the same thing! Your major ABDOMINAL muscle, called the RECTUS ABDOMINIS, also helps out your ERECTOR SPINAE GROUP from the chest, and also contracts isometrically. Other abdominal muscles in the chest, such as your OBLIQUES on the sides, also contract with your RECTUS ABDOMINIS. These are the primary muscles in the Plank exercise!
Aside from the chest and back, other muscles in your arms and legs contract isometrically as well. From the upper body, your SHOULDERS FLEX which works your PECTORALIS MAJOR muscle, your giants "pecs" on the front your chest, isometrically. Different muscles in your elbow work depending on how your elbows are positioned: If your ELBOWS ARE STRAIGHT (or extended), your TRICEPS will be held in isometric contraction. If your ELBOWS ARE FLEXED (or bent), your BRACHIALIS muscle, which is your prime elbow flexor, will be held in isometric contraction.
In your lower body, the muscles in your legs also stay contracted. Your GLUTEUS MAXIMUS, which works your hips at the beginning of your legs, stays contracted and helps keep your legs STRAIGHT (or extended). Your QUADRICEPS in your legs, which STRAIGHTENS (or extends) YOUR KNEES, is held in isometric contraction.
More than anything, the Plank is about posture, posture, posture! Which means your focus should be primarily on your back and abdominal muscles.
Stay tuned for variations of the classic Side Plank exercise! If you still need any help in doing this exercise or would like to learn more about it, contact DANCE CUBE on the COACHING page!