Planks… oh the dreaded plank.. As I tell all my clients planking is the best thing you can do for your body and when you are unable to make class, your homework is to do your planks, do them while you are watching TV or place a magazine or book under you and read a article while you plank away. Planking is a great exercise the works your entire body arms, core, back, hips, glutes etc.. The plank will strengthen the core, back muscles and if done consistently it will advance your Pilates practice by improving your posture, endurance and strength.
However doing the plank correctly is extremely important otherwise it becomes a useless exercise. Remember when planking:
– Forearms are placed on the ground directly underneath the shoulders and you are balanced on the toes (not the knees)
– Pull the abdominals in do not let them collapse (usually this is the first thing to go)
– The back and neck should be in a flat plane, eye gaze on the floor, glutes are squeezed and activated
– Activate the lats to help support the weight on the forearms
When done correctly you will feel the whole body work and not just in those arms and shoulders. Avoid sagging hips and when you start to lose your form, take a break and give yourself a child’s pose stretch that you deserve then go back for round two or three.
Once you have mastered the standard plank holding it for 2 minutes or longer, you should try some of these fun variations:
1) Opposite arm and leg lifts
3)Alternate Knees to Chest
4) Side Plank
5) Side Planks with Leg Lifts
6) Bosu Ball Planks