Sing with me, “Plank it up, little darlin’. Plank it up…” This simple, no-equipment needed exercise is a game changer when it comes to spinal health, core strength, a flat belly, better posture, reduced back pain, and more muscle definition—just to name a few benefits.
Even though it’s a held position, plank is very dynamic and requires the activation of several muscle groups from head to toe. When doing plank position, please keep in mind:
- Your wrists and elbows should be directly under your shoulders.
- You will reach the crown of your head forward, with your chin slightly tucked and your neck long, as you press your heels backward.
- Your belly is engaged as if you are wearing a corset and all your energy is coming in toward your center line.
- You will want to tuck in your tailbone so that your bottom is inline with your spine.
- Your spine is straight creating a downward sloping line from the top of your head to your heels.
- (NOTE: For side plank, the same tips apply. You will just rotate your body’s position 90 degrees left or right.)
For my BitchFit clients, I devised a ~5 minute plank workout. Here’s how you can do it at home:
- STEP 1: Run through a Sun Salutation A, ending in plank pose.
- STEP 2: Inhale in plank pose, exhale transition to side plank pose (right side).
- STEP 3: Use your inhales to lift your left leg up (in line with your right leg), and exhales to lower your left leg back down to meet your right leg for a total of 5-10 reps. (Note: Modification is to lower your right knee to the mat.)
- STEP 4: Inhale, return to plank pose. Exhale, remain here.
- STEP 5: Repeat STEP 2-3 on the left side.
- STEP 6: Inhale, return to plank pose. Exhale, remain here.
- STEP 7: Inhale, tap your right hand to your left shoulder.
- STEP 8: Exhale, plank pose.
- STEP 9: Inhale, tap your left hand to your right shoulder.
- STEP 10: Exhale, to Downward Facing Dog.
- STEP 11: Repeat STEP 7-10 for 5-10 reps.
- STEP 12: Inhale, into plank pose.
- STEP 13: Exhale, to Downward Facing Dog.
- STEP 14: Inhale, right hand to left shin.
- STEP 15: Exhale, to Downward Facing Dog.
- STEP 16: Inhale, left hand to right shin.
- STEP 17: Repeat STEP 12-16 for 5-10 reps.
- STEP 18: End in Child’s Pose.
—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ