Planks are so easy …. to completely butcher. It honestly hurts my eyes when I see the 3 minute plank crew looking like this –
Just hanging out for minute after minute, letting their spine and shoulders take the strain.
A plank is, or at least should be, a full body tension exercise. Glutes, abs, lats, quads and the rest should all be tight and “on”.
I like to use slightly longer times, 30-45secs with clients as I feel that tension can be maintained fairly well. However lately I’ve been swapping to 3-5 “sets” of 10s intense planks. Each 10 second burst allows a greater full body contraction with a rest time of 10 seconds or 2-3 deep breaths before going into the next one.
When you set up in the plank, make sure your elbows are below your shoulders, not tucked behind. If you want to increase the challenge then move your elbows further forward to increase the lever length.
When you get up into your plank, squeeze your abs and glutes, tucking the hips under slightly and holding the hips and ribs together. Then try to pull your elbows down the floor to your toes, and pull your toes up towards your elbows. This will help you get your lats and quads into the game and create the full body tension you need.
Try to remember to breathe.
2 options for adding these into your training are:
- 3-4 sets of 3x 10s holds, or
- 5x 10s holds, rest 50s, 4x10s, rest 40sec etc down to 1 10s hold. If 5 holds are too much, start with 3 or 4 and build up.