Life means movement. We want to live therefore we need to be moving constantly and consciously. This applies both to the mind and the body. An active body makes an active mind and using our mind when exercising, well, that is a powerful tool that will make any exercise more beneficial. Plus, exercising make us feel more alive.
This week we present you an exercise which you definitely tried before. The plank is a full body exercise, this means all the muscles are active and working.
Some people find it challenging to keep the plank position for more than 30 seconds. Do you want to try it?
How to do it
Starting position. Lay on your belly (this is called the prone position). The forehead, the chest and the knees are on the floor. Curl the toes putting them on the floor too.
- Bring the palms next to the chest. The elbows are close to the body. Observe the shoulder blades getting closer to each other. Their position should be the same while in the plank even if your arms will be straight.
- Your belly is still on the floor while you straighten your legs.
- Kneecaps are up and all the muscles in the legs are active. Not contracted like a rock, just active. Notice the difference.
- Push the heels backwards.
- Active your gluteus muscles too, bringing the tail bone forward, pushing the pubic bone towards the floor.
- Breathe. Activate the abdominal muscles. You should have room for a ping pong ball between your navel (belly button) and the floor. :D
- Push into the palms and straighten the arms.
- You are now in the Full Plank Position!
- Your hands are pushing down, while the shoulder blades are pulled one towards the other.
- Your head wants to go forward, while the heels are pushing backwards.
- The abdominal muscles are active, the belly is slightly coming up towards the spine,
- Your gluteus muscles are tight and your tail bone goes forward towards the floor.
- Legs are straight and parallel with each other.
Important things you should pay attention to.
Practice next to a wall. This will help you built a correct image on how and which muscles should you use. Stand up and push your hands against a wall. Think tall while you push with the heels towards the floor. Bring the shoulder blades together and activate the gluteus muscles and bring the tail bone forward, towards the wall, without changing any of the previous adjustments. Then try the same thing on the floor, pushing with your heels against the wall.
Breathe - The inhale and the exhale are the most important part of any exercise because they facilitate the digestion and the excretion at the cellular level. Forgetting to breathe or worse blocking the inhale will increase the tension in the brain blood vessels. So, if get difficult and you can't breathe, stop and relax.
No abs - no plank. Be strong and gentle. If your abdomen is weak, don't force the other muscles to support you. This is like forcing somebody else to do one's job. It won't help you much. Educate your mind. Educate your muscles. This way you will get the best of the plank using the least amount of energy. Practice after practice you will be able to keep the plank longer.
Think of your body in terms of straight lines. As simple as that. Use your imagination to visualize every part of your body while you are in the plank. This will give your mind something to do and will help you understand your body more, in terms of what muscles you use for a certain movement.
Your weight doesn't matter. There is no point in remembering how much you weight and how that weight is now on your wrists. That is false information. Your hands are just the support together with the feet. Visualize that you are pushing away the floor from the body not the other way around.
Too hard? If you need more help, start doing the Plank on the forearms. This way your support area will be larger and you are closer to the floor.
Too easy? If you feel comfortable in the full plank position (arms straight). You can start playing with the variations.
Also, you can apply some pieces of advice you received from us in the previous articles.
Breathing in your lumbar area exercise - builds abdomen muscles while relaxing the lumbar muscles.
Shoulder Girdle Wake Up exercise – releases tension from the shoulders and the back of the neck.