Perfect Form: Plank

We’re not talking wood here; we are talking about one of the best abdominal exercises out there which also strengthens your back and shoulders. For the ladies, if you read my post about Ante and Post Natal fitness you’ll understand why we need to put in the ground work now! For the guys, you know the ladies love a guy with a toned torso 😉

The plank is one of those core moves which we should master before moving on to compound and more complex variations. It is an isometric exercise; this means you hold the position for a period of time.

So how do you do it?!

1. Begin with your hands placed directly under your shoulders; keep your torso straight with a straight line from your ears to your toes. There should be no sagging or bending and the weight should be over your shoulders.

plank position

2. Engage your core by sucking your belly button towards your spine. Squeeze your shoulder blades together in order to lift ‘up and out’ of your shoulder joint to help maintain your posture. Focus your eyes above your fingertips to maintain a neutral position in your neck.

There you have it! Just don’t forget to breathe! How long you hold a plank for depends on your ability; if you are new to this exercise I would aim for 20 – 30 seconds to start with or try the modified plank (see picture). For those who are more experienced, aim to remain in position for 1 minute with good technique.

The variations for the plank exercise are endless but I do have a few favourites! They include the NTC drill; Cardio Plank which brings a cardiovascular element into what is usually just a strength exercise.

Side plank is another favourite! Begin by laying on your side, placing your elbow on the floor just under your shoulder. Lift up on that elbow, lift yours hips and keep your body stiff with a line running from head to toe.

Hold this position for up to 30 seconds each side.

So give these a go, and I’ll post soon on progressions!

Elle 🙂 x


p.s Safety always comes first. If you are new to exercise ensure you seek advice from your GP. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, wear appropriate clothing and carry out drills in a suitable space. Technique is paramount, and nothing should hurt. Should you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath etc, STOP and consult your GP. 

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