India, founder of Chukka Wellness has been a Personal Trainer for 7 years and regularly encounters people in the gym performing exercises incorrectly. This can inhibit not only progression in training but also increase the risk of injury later on in life.
Over the past couple of months, Chukka Wellness has been providing coaching points on common exercises that are usually found in the standard training program and that can easily be performed incorrectly. So far, we have focused on the Lunge and Push up technique!
This month we will be discussing the Plank as it is such an effective compound exercise, yet many people perform it incorrectly which can lead to back and shoulder issues!
How to Perform the Perfect Plank
The plank is a powerful whole-body exercise; not only does it strengthen your core, legs and arms but it also improves shoulder and hip stabilisation.
· Hips too high or too low
· Shoulders not directly over the elbows
· The body is not lengthened creating a lot of unwanted pressure on the hip flexors
· Core is not engaged correctly
· Too much lower back over-extension.
Now let’s run through the correct coaching points.
1. Start on your elbows and knees.
2. Brace your core and raise your hips off the ground until they are in line with your shoulders.
3. Lengthen your body (imagine you are being stretched away from the crown of your head and your feet).
4. If you feel any lower back pain perform a pelvic tilt to correctly engage the lower core.
5. Ensure your shoulders are tracking over your elbows and that your chin is tucked in.
6. Contract all of the muscles in your body, not just your abdominals.
7. Hold this position and be sure to breathe!!!
*If you struggle with lower back pain, try the plank on your knees until you build up the strength to perform the full version.
*Make sure that your upper back is not overly-rounded by retracting the shoulders and engaging the uppr body muscles.
To monitor progression, see how long you can hold the plank for.
Re-test every 4 weeks!