Everyone has at least one acquaintance who can hold a plank position for a quarter of an hour. Even though we have yet to stay around long enough to see this incredible 15-minute plank, it is reasonable to assume that the form isn’t ideal, particularly as the time limit draws closer to its conclusion.
If you aren’t performing the plank exercise correctly, it doesn’t matter how long you hold it or how often you practice it; the movement is still meaningless. Refresh your memory on the plank’s proper shape, and steer clear of these five frequent errors.
How to Perform a Plank on Your Forearms
- Lay on the ground on your stomach with your arms extended out in front of you and your elbows positioned so that they are squarely beneath your shoulders.
- Extend your legs in a straight line behind you while tucking your toes under.
- Raise your body off the ground while maintaining a braced position in your core by applying pressure to your forearms and toes.
- Maintain a neutral spine and align your body to form a straight line from your head to your hips to your heels.
1. Rounding Your Shoulders and Back
According to April Whitney, CSCS, arching the lower back while performing a plank is one of the most prevalent blunders. It is natural to let your waist sink toward the ground when your core begins to tire, which can cause your back to become misaligned. This occurs because your body is weakening.
Whitney explains that although this error may not necessarily result in an immediate injury, it can put stress on the lower back, which, over time, can contribute to lower back discomfort or sensitivity.
In addition, the benefits of the exercise for strengthening the core are lost if the lower back is allowed to arch. This is because your abdominal muscles are no longer actively supporting your body, eventually slowing down your growth.
2. Looking Up
According to Whitney, looking at a mirror or clock while holding a plank position might help check your form or keep track of the time, but it can also wreak havoc on your paper. The key to successfully performing a plank is maintaining a straight line with your body from your head to your hips to your heels.
Your body will get out of alignment if you glance at a wall-mounted clock or mirror momentarily. According to Whitney, even performing a small number of planks each week while keeping your head in this posture can induce discomfort in your neck and tension in your upper back muscles.
3. Hiking or Sagging the Hips
After around 45 seconds of holding a plank position for one minute, you should rest your abdominal muscles by either lifting your hips to the ceiling or lowering them toward the ground. You may be already doing it without even recognizing it!
Whitney states, “Bringing the hips up to the ceiling will shift the emphasis away from your core and load it more heavily onto your shoulders, thereby transforming the exercise into a different one.” “To get the most out of a plank for your core, you’ll want to keep your hips in a straight line with your body, with the pelvis tucked under,” “Keep your hips in a straight line with your body to get the most out of a plank for your core.”
4. Squeezing Your Shoulder Blades Together
You could find that your breathing becomes more erratic as you continue to hold the plank for longer, and your body starts to tremble (don’t give up! You’re nearly there!). Now would be a good time to evaluate your posture and see whether your shoulders are stooped behind your ears. Are they?
If “yes” is your response, you are committing another plank error. According to Whitney, hunching the shoulders forward can cause the muscles in your upper back to get tense, which in turn can cause your neck to strain against the stress. In addition, having your shoulders rounded makes it more challenging to maintain a similar breathing pattern, which is essential for any form of physical activity.
5. Planking Too Long
It shouldn’t be surprising that plank challenges have become popular on social media. Most involve you holding a plank position above the ground for progressively longer periods, week after week. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), however, this concept needs to be revised regarding the appropriate method of practicing the plank position.
Planks that are held for extended periods eventually result in weariness, making it difficult to maintain proper form. In addition, there is no purpose in completing any exercise incorrectly. If you can maintain a plank position for more than a few minutes with proper technique, then this exercise is too simple for you.