Theme of the month – The Plank

The PlankWith Summer around the corner, we’ve decided to challenge and motivate our clients by bringing in a theme to focus on every month. With this we hope to educate and help each of them reach new fitness goals while keeping things fun! So starting off, the theme for October is: The Plank! Here’s why we decided on this exercise…

Why The Plank?

The Pilates Plank or also known as Front Support is an isometric exercise that targets the abdominals, obliques, back and shoulders. Muscles worked include: your Rectus Abdominis, Erector Spinae, Transverse Abdominis, Trapezius, Rhomboids, Rotator cuff muscles, Deltoids, Pectorals, Serratus Anterior, Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps and the Gastrocnemius (calves). The Plank is pretty much a full body workout which is why it’s the first theme we’ll be focusing on!

Romy Planking

4 Benefits of doing The Plank

  • Strengthens your core – The Plank is one of the best and when done correctly, safest core strengthening exercises you can do.
  • Contributes to having a toned midsection – Combining core strengthening exercises like the Plank with a good diet, strength training and light cardio is the ultimate way to guarantee a trim and toned midsection.
  • Improves posture – A strong core will enable you to maintain good posture by strengthening your abdominals to be able to support the posture and help maintain an upright position. As an added bonus, good posture means you’re standing taller which creates a taller, slimmer more confident looking you just by the way you’re holding yourself!
  • Helps reduce back pain– Planks help to strengthen your core muscles which results in strengthening your lower back too. As mentioned above, the Plank improves posture and when your posture is correct, you’re evening out the workload of the muscles that need to hold you upright so that the muscles of the upper back are no longer overworked which is often a cause for backache. By standing tall you’re also less likely to compress the discs of your spine as you do when your posture is poor.

The exercise: Front Support/ Plank

Romy doing The PlankObjective: To improve core strength, shoulder strength and overall stability.

Start Position: Start in a four-point kneeling position with your shoulders above your hands. Extend one flexed foot back and place it on the mat, stabilize the torso and extend the other leg back into your plank position.

Breathe: Inhale and Exhale x10 breaths

Tips:

Do

  • Keep your belly button drawn in towards your spine to support your lower back
  • Allow a slight posterior tilt to avoid arching the lower back
  • Keep the shoulders drawn down and the lats engaged
  • Keep the head and neck in line with your spine
  • Squeeze your glutes to help with stability
  • Keep your body in a straight long line – like a plank!

Don’t

  • Sink into your lower back
  • “Wing” the scapular
  • Round the upper back
  • Push through if you’re feeling pain (you know your body, it should feel like hard work but never painful, especially not in the lower back)

Modifications:

  • If you’re struggling with wrist pain – come onto your elbows, placing them directly under your shoulders
  • If you are weak in your abdominals or struggle with back pain- keep the knees bent and lift/hover your knees just off the floor, keeping your abdominal connection

What’s great about the plank is that there’s a modification for most people, making this one of the most popular and effective exercises to strengthen your core safely.

Happy Planking!

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