Most people at some point in their life have done a plank, or at least attempted to. Think of your core muscles as the chain link connecting your upper and lower body. As humans, we stabilize from the core out. Motion originates, in your core and moves out to the chain links of your upper and lower limbs.
What does that mean?
Without core muscle activation or use our bodies as a whole are more prone to injury. A weak core can impair how well your entire body functions. It limits the many everyday activities you do.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Everyday Activities: Sitting, standing, bending to put on shoes, mopping, exercising, various sports and whenever you reach overhead.
Posture, Balance and Stability: Weak core muscles contribute to slouching and even low back pain. A strong core reduces wear and tear on your back and allows you to even get a full breath. Also, a strong core greatly reduces your risk of falling.
Now, why a plank?
A study at Penn State University compared muscle activation of common ab exercise, and it found planks, on elbows or hands, made your core muscles work A LOT harder than other movements such as crunches. Not only are you activating your core but having to balance and stabilize your body weight at the same time. Planks also build endurance in your postural muscles.
How to do the perfect plank:
1. Make sure your back, hips, shoulders, knees, and ankles are all aligned.
2. Push your abs out to support your lower back.
3. You want a slight upward curve in your upper back.
4. Pretend you have a tail and “tuck” it between your legs
*You should feel this in your core. If you feel this in your lower back you should scale and drop to your knees.
We need to take the unrealistic focus off of chiseled abs and focus on strengthening our midline for quality of life. The plank activates the core, back and glute muscles leading to an overall strong midline. We work on planks at least once a week here at CrossFit Lozen! This is an easy movement to do at home even. If you’re looking to start small, try three sets of a 30-second hold and increase from there!
Make today great,