Whether you love it or hate it, the plank is one of the best exercises to strengthen your core. This ultimate exercise engages the muscles in your abdominals, lower back, hips and arms to give you the ‘six-pack’ pop in your core that you’ve always wanted. It also plays a major role in improving your stability.
When executed correctly, plank serves as a full-body exercise and can even prevent back pain and improve your posture. But, performing planks poorly, limits the benefit of the exercise and can even lead to potential injury. Here are 5 common plank mistakes you need to avoid right now!
1. Misaligning your hips
A proper plank exercise involves engaging your core muscles to the maximum and keeping them firm as long as you hold the plank. This is when your body forms a straight line from shoulders to feet. But some people often tend to move their hips out of alignment by lifting the hips or sagging the hips. This puts extra pressure on the lower back and increases the risk of back pain.
How to fix it: You can avoid this by performing the plank in front of a mirror so that you can check your pose and correct yourself.
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2. Shifting your weight
When you shift your weight to compensate for your weak core, your whole upper body is thrown out of alignment and ultimately you won’t get any benefits from your plank exercise. Shifting your weight too far forward or backwards not only reduces your ab engagement but also leads to shoulder and neck pain over time.
How to fix it: If you find it difficult to hold a proper plank position without shifting your weight, try modifying the plank movement by adjusting your hands to support your balance.
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3. Holding the same plank position for too long
Health experts say that the ideal time duration of a plank is 2 minutes. If you are able to hold a plank for 1 or 2 minutes, you’re already doing good. Holding the same plank position for more than 2 minutes without advancing the exercise is not going to bring you any additional benefits. It is just going to drain your energy.
How to fix it: If you find holding a plank for 2 minutes is too easy for you, you can try a more challenging variation like a plank with one leg on the air.
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4. Lifting your head up
This is one of the common plank exercise mistakes people make. Lifting your head and looking up at the ceiling or cranking your head too far can put a serious strain on your neck. This will collapse your form and will definitely lead to neck pain.
How to fix it: Keep your head and neck aligned with the rest of your body and try looking at the floor. This way you’ll not be tempted to lift your head up.
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5. Forgetting to breathe
Usually, maintaining a tough pose like a plank brings out our natural instinct to hold our breath till we are in that position. But not breathing properly can cause your breathing pattern to change and you may not get the full benefits of your exercise.
How to fix it: While you’re holding the plank position, try keeping your core tight and focus on drawing air into your lungs as deeply as possible.
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Planks are one of the easiest exercises to learn and they require zero equipment, making them a great choice for everyone. But if you feel like you’re constantly losing your pose or experiencing body pain, you need to avoid these common plank mistakes right now!
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