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How to do the Pilates Plank Pose

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Updated October 17, 2009

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Pilates Plank Preparation
How to do the Pilates Plank Pose

Engage the Core to Prepare for Plank

photo: Susie Haggas, (c) OMarguerite Productions

Plank pose is well-known for its challenge to the core and stabilizing muscles. One of the great benefits of developing these muscles is that they support rest of the body. Plank will benefit you most, and keep stress out of your neck and back, if you build up to doing the full version by securing the stabilizer muscles first.

In this prep exercise for plank, you will get a good sense of how to engage your core and stabilize your shoulders to support the pose.

  1. Begin on your knees and walk your hands out on the floor, allowing your legs to stretch out behind you. Place your forearms, parallel to each other, on the floor. Many people find that making a fist with the hands is helpful. Your shoulders should be directly over your elbows.

  2. Lift your belly up away from the floor as you extend your spine so that it's very long. It is important that you keep pressure out of you lower back by pulling up the lower abs.

  3. Anchor your pubic bone to the floor, and allow your tailbone to move down toward the floor as well. This move will create more length in spine and protect your lower back.

  4. Keep your shoulder blades and collarbone broad, and make sure that your shoulders are away from your ears.

  5. Your neck is a long extension of your spine, so your head is not dropped or tilted up.

  6. Breathe fully as you hold the pose for 30 seconds.
If your weight is starting to drop into your shoulders and arms, release, rest, and try again.

All you need is an exercise mat.
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