Planking is an isometric core strength exercise. It involves using your core muscles and improves your strength, balance and endurance. The exercise is so-named because, when done properly, you straighten your entire body and maintain it rigidly, just like a plank of wood. It is a great exercise to do at home because it requires no extra equipment or weights, making it a convenient form of strength training.
The plank position engages a wide range of major muscle groups like the abs and back, including the erector spinae and the rectus abdominus and transverse abdominus. In addition, the position uses the trapezius, rhomboids, deltoids and pectoral muscles, of the upper body, as well as the gluteus maximus and quadriceps of the lower body.
Place the forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulders, and arms parallel to the body at about shoulder-width distance. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together. (Plank variations can be performed with straight arms or in a forearm position.) When planking remember:
Sag your hips toward the floor.
Push your butt in the air.
Drop your head toward the floor.
Keep your spine in a straight line from head to toe.
Engage your glutes.
Tighten your abs.
Keep your elbows directly beneath your shoulders.
Keep your shoulder blades back and down.
Hold for at least 30 to 60 seconds.
If you’re feeling the tension and burn in your arms and lower back, instead of your abs and glutes, your form is wrong. Practice in front of a mirror in your gym or at home to make sure everything is in line.
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