Many lifters need to work on building core strength the right way. They think all those fancy exercises on social media work wonders until they try them. Plus, some sit all working day with a rounded back and then put themselves through more flexion by crunching like a madman. But do you know what core exercise is not sexy and never goes out of style? If you guessed the plank, you would be correct.
Planks will strengthen your abs, quads, and glutes and reduce back pain. Planks are not glamorous, but they are effective. We’ll dive into technique tips to make your planks more effective and five plank variations to up your core game.
Plank Technique Tips
The key, as always when it comes to performing planks, is to maintain a neutral spine because all the plank benefits mentioned above disappear. And it’s not magic. Use these three tips below to make this happen.
- Push with Your Elbows And Hands: Whether you’re planking on your elbows or hands, push them directly into the ground, a stability ball, or a suspension trainer to help maintain a neutral spine. This tension is necessary to maintain a neutral spine and to keep your upper back and shoulders fully engaged.
- Squeeze Your Glutes: When you squeeze your glutes together, your lower back will flatten to keep your spine neutral. This is essential for maintaining a neutral spine for all plank variations.
- Breathe: There is a tendency to hold your breath when doing planks, which is no big deal unless you have high blood pressure. But when you breathe while you plank, more tension is required to stabilize the core, and the more the muscles will work as core stabilizer muscles during your plank. Try it; you’ll be pleasantly surprised.