At a glance the plank looks simple enough and easy to do, but there are a few small tweaks that need to be done to really get the most out of the hold.
These tweaks are usually the things that people overlook and do not do, making the exercise easier, and yes we all are guilty of trying to make an exercise easier for us :p But by making the basics harder, the more advanced stuff becomes easier, so don’t shy away from the proper basics, even if it is tough. It will be worth it, and remember to think quality over quantity.
3 very common mistakes with the plank are:
1. Not keeping it straight.
When you cannot see yourself doing a particular exercise, sometimes it may feel like you are in the right position but without seeing yourself you may be a bit off. Try to look at yourself in a mirror and make sure to keep a straight line from your head to your feet.
The common mistake is to hold an ‘A’ or upside down ‘V’ position where you butt is high in the air.
2. being too relaxed
This by far is the most common mistake when doing planks, and when doing most core exercises in general. Many people think core exercises are just Ab exercises. The difference is that a core exercise entails using much more than just your abs, it includes muscles such as your abs, shoulders and glutes, all being used in conjunction together. With that being said, when holding the plank remember to squeeze from your shoulders, down your back, to your glutes and hamstrings.
Following on from this, is arching the back inwards when holding the plank. A great picture highlighting this is below from NaturallyNicola.com You need to do exactly what she recommends in the picture, keeping that hollow body position where your lower back is flat and your tummy is sucked in. Without doing this and squeezing everything, you are really just placing a lot of work on your shoulders.
You may find that you can’t hold the plank like this for as long as you could, but remember quality over quantity.
3. Holding breaths
Don’t hold your breath at any point while performing the plank. Be sure to keep breathing in and out and try to get into a good breathing routine keeping breaths deep and slow.
Read more Plank Tips from Naturally Nicola here!