Plank pose strengthens the abs, obliques, lower back and shoulders and is a key pose for alleviating lower back pain and for improving posture. It’s similar in form to Mountain pose, as your spine is in neutral and your alignment is symmetrical from right to left. There are many ways to increase or decrease the intensity of the posture and numerous variations including Side Plank and Upward Facing Plank.
PLANK POSE BENEFITS
- Strengthens the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, chest, back, core, hips, glutes and legs.
- Stretches the arches of your feet, calves and hamstrings.
- Improves posture.
- Can help to alleviate lower back pain.
Come to all fours.
Walk your hands forward, tuck your toes and lift up into Plank.
Spread your fingers wide and press your hands evenly into the mat. Check that your shoulders are directly over your wrists and your feet are hip-width apart. Try to create a straight line all the way from your heels up to the back of your head. Engage your core and press back through your heels to straighten your legs. Look down at the mat to complete the alignment.
Hold the pose still for 5-10 breaths, or as long as you can without compromising your form.
MODIFICATION: Knee-Down Plank
- You can always drop down to your knees when you want to take a break.
ADVANCED VARIATION: One-Legged Plank
- To increase the intensity of the pose, lift one leg off the mat at a time and hold still for 5-10 breaths. Don’t let your hips lift up.
VARIATION: Forearm Plank
- If you drop down onto your forearms, you’ll find the pose more challenging for your core and less so for the shoulders and triceps. This is a good variation if your wrists are sore.
DYNAMIC VARIATION: Spider Planks
- This dynamic variation takes the difficulty up a notch.
- Avoid Plank pose if you have a wrist or ankle injury.