The muscles of the core- the obliques, the transverse abdominal, the rectus abdominis, and diaphragmatic muscles as well spinal erectors of the back become weak if not engaged periodically. They can also become stiff and lose nerve function.
The plank has seen its popularity rise like a social media selfie app. And for good reason (unlike the selfie app)! It can teach you to use what you have a restore much stability to the core.
To perform a plank properly, do these basic things:
- Elbows at a right angle, 90 degrees.
- Look straight down with your neck in good alignment.
- Draw your navel towards your spine. This is called "drawing in."
- Place your feet shoulder width apart.
- Perform a pelvic tilt, OR hold your spine in a neutral position. Avoid sagging!
- Brace your core- make it hard to the touch.
- Create some tension, not 100% tension but some, throughout your whole body.
- Squeeze your butt.
- Hold 30 seconds to a minute.
There is more going on than meets the eye with a good plank. If done correctly, it is an excellent way to re-engage the core musculature and get it working again. Most people mistake good core training with crunches and sit ups. Those are fine but a good core program works the entire middle of the body, including the hips, in a multi-planar, static and dynamic way, employing proper breathing, resistance as well as technique.
Now get off the couch and try it. If it's too hard at first, use a table or even the back of a chair to practice. Or do it kneeling to make it easier.
If you like this article, you might find one of these programs worthwhile:
3 Big Reasons Your Back Hurts: Click HERE
20 Minutes to a Better Back and a Stronger Core: Click HERE
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