HIGHETT PILATES and FITNESS CENTRE

How To Do The Perfect Plank, It Starts With Posture

Studio Pilates in Highett - Pilates Plus Lifestyle Studio

The “Plank” is an exercise that gets used a lot in fitness programs and in Pilates as well, for a good reason. It’s a great exercise for total body strength, including the deep core muscles. Now, I’ve seen quite a lot of people attempting to do this exercise (hundreds!)…and most of them end up doing it incorrectly.

Let me explain why.

First of all, the purpose of doing any exercise is to improve the function of your body by making it stronger, longer, mobile, agile, fitter and healthier.

You can not achieve all of the above if you have issues with your posture.

Posture is the foundation or framework for your body and when your deep postural muscles aren’t working well, it compromises any movement that you do. Now if this is the case with you, it might not be causing you any issues and you may be able to get in to a plank, but are you adding to the long term function of your body…or just pushing through exercises.

The Pilates method of exercise never compromises postural integrity, just for the sake of doing an exercise. It builds the body from the inside out, recruiting muscles you never knew you had!

So back to the Plank…

The BIGGEST mistake I see people make with the plank is not being capable of maintaining their posture, and “locking” or “bracing” their muscles to maintain the position.

Bracing or locking you abdominal muscles and spine is counterproductive to creating great posture and results in your bigger muscles over working and your postural muscles under working.

To do an effective, perfect plank, the very first action you need to take is to understand what posture is and how to hold find your “neutral” spine. Basically this refers to the natural curvature of the spine.

How do you know what that is?

If you were to stand upright against a wall, your tailbone, upper back and back of the head would be on the wall and your lower back and neck would not be on the wall. If you find this hard to do, then you may have a postural imbalance which needs some attention.

Getting back to the plank again…

When you are doing a plank, it’s essential to maintain these curves in your spine. Imagine that the wall is on top of you and the tailbone, upper back and back of the head would all be resting on that wall.

This will make more sense when you watch the videos below. I’ve included a “modified” version which is called a short plank. It’s a great way to train your deep postural muscles in the plank position without too much load or strain.

If you aren’t sure about what your posture looks like when you are doing a plank, get a buddy to take a picture, then practice for 4 weeks and do an “after” photo and see if there has been any changes.

The Short Plank – Lift your knees just off the floor without changing the position of your spine and hold for as long as you can without compromising your posture.

The Plank- Extend one leg at a time without changing the position of your spine and hold as long as you can without compromising your posture

Now here is what NOT to do!!!

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