The plank is one of the best exercises for toning your back, abs, arms, legs and your butt, while at the same time improving your stability and posture. The reason why it’s so popular and eclipses other strength movements is because it’s very versatile. You can change it up to add some extra movement and make your heart rate faster.
The plan of action is simple, follow the instructions below to the point on how to tweak the plank and use its benefits. Don’t rush it and be sure to practice it at your own pace and according to your skill level, but make sure that you put in the work every day as written so that you are progressing properly and can move on to the next week.
Start off by fixing your form, because when it comes to doing planks the form either makes it or breaks it. The body should be straight like an arrow from head to heels.
First, begin by standing up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Next, tell someone to gently and carefully knock you off balance. Try to feel what muscles need to be engaged so that you don’t fall down. This is the exact feeling you should have when you are trying to do a plank.
Perfect your form by first lying on the stomach and putting the forearms or hands, whichever you prefer directly under the shoulders. Then, come up onto the toes and squeeze your butt. Hold that position for 5 to 10 seconds.
Start the timer and try to hold the plank position for 30 to 40 seconds or perhaps longer. If you need rest, lower the knees on the floor for just a few seconds.
Increase your endurance. If you start to feel any kind of lower back pain or pain in your shoulders when you start increasing the time in the plank position, or if the butt starts creeping toward the ceiling, get down, stop and reset.
Master the 30-second challenge. Hold the plank for 30 seconds without resting.
Next, hold the 30-second plank, then rest in the “Downward Dog” position for 5 seconds and then return to plank and hold it for additional 15 seconds or more if you can.
After this, try to hit the minute mark. Hold the plank for 45 seconds, rest in a “Downward Dog” position and then do another 15 to 30-second plank.
After you have managed to endure for one minute, try holding the plank for a minute and a half. First, go for one minute, rest in “Downward Dog” position if you need it, then go for 30 seconds more.
During week 3 you are allowed to switch it up a bit. Master the variations presented below one by one, which means do each of them for one minute. Then try doing them with as less rest in-between as possible, eventually aiming to finish all three back to back.
The first variation will involve moving the center of your mass. Starting in a forearm plank, drop the right hip so that the right thigh touches the floor. Then, return to the previous position and drop the left hip. Repeat it again. If you are doing it on your hands, the thighs might not reach the floor.
Test your balance by extending the right arm straight in front of you and parallel to the floor while keeping the form correct. Return to an ordinary plank position and then extend the left arm. Repeat with both legs.
Change the levels. Start the plank on your forearms. Get yourself up on your right hand, then the left, so that you position yourself in a high plank position. Return to the right forearm, then the left. Repeat by switching the arms.