Plank is a popular exercise in Pilates, yoga, and other fitness methods. Holding this one position strengthens your core and gives your whole body a workout. Plank tones the arms and legs, and especially the shoulder, back, and abdominal muscles.
When we do plank in Pilates, we pay special attention to our alignment. Certain key elements will be part of each version of plank we look at in this series. Use this check list to make sure each plank you do reinforces the integrity of your whole body:
- Your abdominal muscles are in and lifted.
- Your spine is long.
- Your shoulders are relaxed with the scapula (wing bones) settled in the back, not popping up. (read about scapular stabilization)
- Your legs are engaged in the movement, drawing in toward the mid-line of your body.
- Your body creates one long line from your ankle bone to your ear.
- Your neck is a long extension of your spine.
- All of your movements are performed with the Pilates principles: centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow.
- Begin on your hands and knees with your knees directly under your hips, and your hands directly under your shoulders.
Roll your shoulders back and down as if you were going to slide your scapula into your pockets. Have your finger tips pointing forward and turn your inner elbows slightly forward as well. These moves will help stabilize your upper body and keep your chest open.
- Lift up in your middle as you step one foot straight back and then the other. Keep your legs engaged in supporting the plank position.
- Hold for 3 - 5 breaths. Release and repeat 1 or 2 more times.