Planking is one of the simplest and yet commonly misperformed moves in developing a strong core. Many people who want to strengthen their core start with planking, but they move too quickly into more advanced movements, threatening their form, working the wrong muscles, and potentially leading to injury or back pain. Here are some tips for mastering a simple side plank before you go forth in a more advanced side-plank undertaking.
7 Steps to a Simple Side Plank
- Lie on one side with the upper foot stacked right on top of the lower foot.
- Place your elbow directly in line under your shoulder
- Lift your hips so that they form a straight line from feet, between your legs, through groin, and straight up through the middle of your neck. A mirror is essential to learning. Use a closet door mirror at home or a mirror at the gym.
- Maintain a straight spinal alignment both horizontally and vertically.
- Do not let your hips or shoulders tip forward or back. Keep them aligned with the top side of the hip directly over the other hip.
- The goal is to hold for 60 seconds.
- Remember to breathe.
If you are a beginner, start in shorter increments and work your way up to 60 seconds. Once you can hold the plank for 60 seconds, then you can consider adding some advanced moves that involve your arms and legs moving. If you cannot hold the plank for at least 60 seconds then you have no business moving to an advanced planking that involves arm and leg movements.
What Is Plank Failure?
You have failed at side planking when your hips drop down, sag excessively, elevate excessively, no longer maintain a straight line, roll forward or your neck bends. If you do not do the plank correctly you can work the wrong muscles and hurt your back or neck. It is important to master this move before moving on to more complicated variations that involve movement.
Health Benefits of Doing Planks
Doing planks, both regular (basic and elbow) and side planks, have a lot of health and fitness benefits. You can get all these benefits in a short time with planking. Here are just a few benefits of doing planks:
- Strengthen all major core muscle groups
- Protect back
- Boost metabolism
- Improve posture
- Better balance
- Increased flexibility
- Improve mood
- Improve urinary health
- Improve sexual stamina
Once you have mastered this simple side plank, you are ready for some more advanced moves. If your core is strong but resembles more of a case of beer than a 6 pack, you might look into a BeFit 30-day 6 pack Abs program to help you strengthen and define those muscles. Since those abs might be absolutely fabulous, yet hidden under a layer of padding, another fitness program designed to burn fat, such as the BeFit 30 Day Fat Burn Fitness System course may be worth embarking on as well.