How To Do Plank

Chloe Freytag demonstrating plank pose in a blue tank top and yoga pants

Plank pose is, without question, the best way to strengthen your core muscles and teach your body core stability. Plank pose involves more than just core, however. In this pose you will use shoulder, chest, upper back, arm, core and leg muscles all at the same time. If you are looking for the best way to strengthen your core muscles, ditch the crunches and learn how to do Plank.

When it comes to yoga, the benefits of enhanced flexibility are well-known. There is, however, anther side to yoga that is often forgotten. Yoga is also an excellent way to work on full body muscle strengthening without using any equipment – or even shoes! Most yoga practices will involve a great deal of Plank-like positions that require holding your body weight with your own strength.

When you learn how to do Plank, make sure to have a thorough understanding of how your spine is being used. It is important that the belly muscles are drawn up into your back to help firm the middle of the body and keep the spine in one, straight line. No sagging allowed. It is also crucial to have awareness of your shoulders and upper back muscles. When practicing Plank you will need to pull your shoulders and shoulder blades down towards your low back. Without this awareness the shoulders will “scrunch” up toward the neck and leave you with a not-so-nice pinched nerve or sore neck.

One other note regarding body position, many people complain of sore wrists when practicing Plank. If you keep your entire core tight, including abs, glutes and even the top of your legs, more of the body weight will be shifted off the wrists and into the middle of the body where you really want it to work.

Plank is an excellent pose as part of an overall yoga practice or as a strengthening pose all on its own. Try our 8-Minute Plank Challenge!

1) Begin on your hands and knees. Pull your abdominals in and step your feet back behind you until your legs are straight.

2) Keep hands directly under shoulders and eyes at the front of your mat so your neck remains aligned.

3) Hold the abdominals and legs tight and make sure your back stays long- avoid sagging in the low back.

4) If you struggle to hold the position, lower knees to mat while keeping everything else the same. Hold and breathe for 30 seconds.

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