You’ve probably seen the YouTube videos of various people “planking” in unusual places, like an office or on a kitchen countertop. As amusing as those videos are, I’m here to let you know that the real plank is executed in the gym. A proper plank engages several muscles at once and, as a part of your long-term training goals, can help you achieve superior core strength. As a top personal trainer in Calgary, I’m often asked how to properly master the plank and it frustrates me when I see members in the gym perform it incorrectly, potentially injuring themselves.

The plank may look easy to do, but to master this exercise you need to do it correctly and have it worked into your training regimen. The plank is a static exercise, which essentially means that your body will remain in a single position for a duration of time. There are several different types of plank exercises, including side, forearm and standard planks. In this blog, we’re going to look at the forearm variation, which is a good entry level plank since it’s slightly easier on the body.

The first step is to get into the push-up position with your toes grounded into the floor. Bend your elbows (90 degrees) directly under your shoulders, and that will rest your weight on your forearms. Your body should be aligned straight from your feet to your head. If it’s your first time attempting the plank, try to hold the positions in intervals of 10 seconds. As your core strengthens, hold the position for as long as you can. If you can’t remain in the plank for long, don’t be discouraged, the majority of people first attempting this movement don’t last 30 seconds. Avoid raising your butt into the air as this will disengage your abdominal muscles, rendering the exercise useless. Also, resist hanging your head, this will pull your spine out of alignment and can lead to a pulled muscle or an unwanted injury.

Working with an experienced trainer will always yield greater results. If you have questions on how to master the plank or achieving greater results in the gym, contact Paul Anthony today.  

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