Here’s how to perfect your plank. And be patient young Padawan, this one takes some getting used to.
- Lay face down on the ground.
- Position your hands slightly to the outside of your shoulders, fingertips pointing forward.
- Pull your elbows close to your body.
- Roll your shoulders down and back away from your ears.
- Curl your toes under.
- Squeeze your elbows in tight to your body, tighten your abs, tush and thighs, allowing your knees to come off the ground.
Got it so far? Your body is entirely engaged and you’re still not off the ground yet.
- Staying engaged (keep squeezing your abs, tush, thighs) press firmly into the ground with and lift up so that you’re in the top part of the push up.
- Walk your hands in slightly so they are under your shoulders, keeping your fingers pointing straight ahead.
- Spread your shoulders – imagine someone is on your left and right, pulling your shoulders apart from the middle. This prevents you from rounding your back.
- Stretch your heels to one side of the room, look down at the ground so the crown of your head is reaching to the other side of the room. This helps with neck positioning and to keep you in proper alignment.
- Stay in that high plank or slowly lower down to your forearms into a low plank.
- Keep your body tight from tips to toes, breathe easily, relax your face and hold.
What’s the deal? Normally one drops down into a plank, not coming up from the ground. But what you’ll find is that by working from the ground up you won’t collapse into your shoulders. Think that you are “lifting” yourself up instead of “holding” yourself up. This takes some practice.
When you feel your hips start to pike up or drop down to the ground, you’re done. You can take a break and start over from the ground up (literally and figuratively) or call it a day.
Even if you can only lift yourself for a few seconds, that’s ok. You will get stronger.
Now go run!