How to do a plank well, how long and how often?

Would you like to get your body in shape? The seemingly easy-to-perform plank works a large number of muscle groups. Whether you choose yoga, Pilates, or circuit training, chances are you’ll be doing planks as part of your program. It is an essential part of many training programs. And with good reason: A 30-second or 1-minute plank can dramatically improve your fitness. Here’s everything you need to know about how to make a great plank and why it’s so good for you.

The benefits of planks

Simply put, the plank is an isometric strength training exercise that builds core endurance. Isometric means there is no movement. Note that we said endurance, not strength. Like any good core exercise, planks are not intended to strengthen muscles, but to improve their endurance.

While muscular strength refers to the force a muscle can exert, or the weight you can lift, muscular endurance refers to a muscle’s ability to maintain a sustained contraction for an extended period of time. You need both to keep muscles in peak condition. Strength allows you to exert maximum force (lifting a heavy box), and endurance allows you to use your muscles over and over again before they tire (like you would running a marathon or doing dozens of reps of an exercise).

When it comes to our core muscles, improving endurance can help us with many daily tasks. Our core helps us maintain our posture, support our spine, and keep us aligned while sitting, standing, and walking. (And yes, it will also help give the tribe a stronger look).

Planks work a variety of muscles. In fact, the plank primarily works the transverse abdominals and rectus abdominis of the abdominal wall. This is the muscle group located at the front of your abdomen. The rectus abdominis is the most superficial and feels like a six pack abs, while the transverse abs are the deepest. Planks also work the glutes, both at maximum and intermediate levels.

The other muscle groups engaged depend on the type of plank you’re doing. When you do the forearm plank (see below), you create more tension in your core and lats, the latissimus dorsi muscles, which are the large V-shaped muscles that connect your arms to your spine and back. If your goal is just to work your core, the forearm plank is the way to go. When you do a plank with your arms fully extended (the top of a push-up position), you also work your triceps, shoulders, and chest.

How to Make a Correct Board: Correct Shape and Variations

To make a forearm plank:

Start in an all fours position with your hands and knees on the floor.

Place your elbows on the floor just below your shoulders so your arms are at a 90-degree angle and are looking straight at the floor.

Extend one leg behind you at a time while maintaining a neutral spine (keep the same natural curvature in your upper, middle, and lower spines as if you were standing straight), and contract your glutes to keep them straight Strengthen line from top to head to heels. Avoid arching your lower back, raising your hips, or bending your knees.

Tighten your abs, you should feel like you’re tightening the entire area between your ribs and pelvis. At the same time, tighten your lower back muscles by pressing your elbows against the floor as if trying to bring your elbows to your toes.

To do a straight arm plank:

Start in an all fours position on your hands and knees. Keeping your palms flat on the floor and your gaze down, step your feet back to form a perfectly straight line from the top of your head to your heels. (Your gaze should be down so your neck is also straight.) Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.

Maintain a neutral spine position while engaging your abs, lats, and glutes as outlined above.

To make a modified knee plank:

Start in an all fours position on your hands and knees. Bring your hands forward and keep your knees in contact with the floor until your body forms a straight line from the top of your head to your knees. Keep your spine in neutral alignment. Work your core and side muscles to hold the position. Your gaze should be down and slightly outward so that your neck is aligned with your spine.

How long and how often should the planks be done?

Here’s a good goal: try to hold a plank for a minute or two. It’s not arbitrary because that’s how long most exercise sets are, and you want your core to be at least strong enough to maintain a neutral spine for that time, because that’s when your spine is most loaded.

It’s safe to do planks daily unless you have an injury, heart problem, or shoulder strain. Because planks train muscular endurance and not strength, the muscles don’t need to rest and repair themselves before training again. The plank is safe for most people, but if you’re new to exercise, it’s always a good idea to get a doctor’s clearance and ask a fitness expert about it. Holding your abdomen hard, especially if you have high blood pressure, could temporarily raise your blood pressure even more. Some spinal problems can also be made worse by holding the board in an overly bent or stretched position.

Tight hip flexors can also cause problems. Our core can weaken and we can lose the neutral position of the spine due to a contraction of the hip flexors. If your hip flexors are tight and you’re trying to do a plank, you’re not utilizing your core muscles and you’ll continue to engage the hip flexors, which need to be stretched, not engaged.

Finally, any shoulder issues should be addressed before working on the planks. It is imperative not to stress the shoulder joint by keeping the arms in the correct position to allow the stabilizing muscles to do their job.

You may have experienced any of these problems before, or have another health condition or illness that could prevent you from exercising safely. Even if you don’t, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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