The plank is a technically challenging exercise. If you want to get the most out of it, here are five tips from professional trainers.

In terms of technique, the plank is one of the most difficult exercises. Yes, many of us include the bar in our workouts. Runners, strength training enthusiasts and those who want to lose weight before the beach season are respected by runners, but many do not realize that they are doing the bar completely wrong.

“Planks are the gold standard for core strengthening and stabilization,” explains Shayna, athletic director at Supreme Health and Fitness in Wisconsin. “When done correctly, they are truly effective. Planks make you more athletic, prevent/reduce back pain, and make it easier to move around in everyday life. “

It’s time to figure out how to take full advantage of this fundamental exercise.

1. Contract the gluteal muscles with all your might

Almost all exercises benefit from a little glute engagement, and planks are no exception. “Squeezing the gluteal muscles stretches the hip flexors slightly, which puts more stress on the abdominal muscles,” explains Greg Pignataro, Certified Strength and Functional Trainer at Grindset Fitness. You want to work exactly the abdominal muscles, don’t you? What’s more, contraction of the gluteus muscles reduces stress on the lumbar spine and prevents lower back flexion, adds Pignataro.

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2. Don’t take long sets

Everything is correct. “Dr. Stuart McGill, a University of Waterloo professor who has devoted 30-plus years to the study of the spine and spinal pain, has published groundbreaking research on crustal tightness,” says Shayna. “The 10-second plank with maximum tension, followed by a short rest before the next set, develops a much stronger core with less risk of injury.”

Pavel Tsatsulin, better known as the popularizer of weight training, agrees with this. He developed the RKC plank based on the philosophy of whole-body rigidity and suggested shorter and stronger sets. Try holding the bar for 3-10 seconds at maximum contraction for the most effective core strength development.

3. Find your “ideal” body position

Each body has its own characteristics, and therefore the optimal position for the plank should also be personalized. “Due to the unique proportions of the body and the length of the limbs, the ideal position in the plank will be individual for each person,” emphasizes Pignataro. This is important because the bar should work out the core muscles and not hit the elbow or shoulder joints. Experiment with extending your elbows and feet a few centimeters in, out, back, and forth until you find your ideal stance. ”

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4. Raise your chin “over the fence”

Not everyone can feel the abdominal muscles during the plank. If you are familiar with this, use this technique: “Having taken the starting position, imagine that you want to look over the fence. Pull your elbows down a bit to raise your head and neck above this imaginary fence, advises Brian Nghien, owner of the Elementally Strong Club. “This will align your hips and shoulders, and you will feel the plank where you want – in the abdominal muscles.”

5. Squeeze your armpits

“For the plank to count, every muscle that stabilizes the spine has to work at full strength,” says Keri Woodall, owner of BLAZE Sports Club.

In general, this is true for many exercises. “If I want to do the deadlift, I have to group myself using all the strength of my core muscles. Only then can something heavy be lifted from the ground. If my body does not understand what the maximum contraction should look like, then I limit the working weights in the dead and risk injury by lifting weights without proper preparation, ”she explains.

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Do you feel a burning sensation in your muscles? “Squeeze your armpits like you have a million-dollar check under each one, and you hate to be snatched and taken from you,” adds Woodall.

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