Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. I think my finger got stuck on the P key when I came up with this blog post title. Say that five times fast.
PRO POINTERS ON PROPER POSITIONING FOR PRONE ISO PLANK
In other words, tips from yours truly on proper form for planks, what not to do, and how to hold a plank longer. 'Prone Iso' means to face down with your stomach towards the ground. Iso is short for isometric which means to hold the muscles under tension instead of doing repetitions.
The plank is a fantastic exercise for core strength and muscle endurance which is essential for runners, but it is important that you perform the exercise correctly in order to get maximum benefit from your hard work.
PROPER PLANK POSITIONING
Position your elbows on the floor with your shoulders directly over your elbows. Your body should be in a straight line parallel to the floor. Engage your core (this means brace your stomach like someone is about to punch you). Hold it tight. Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) and hold. Be careful not to sink your hips or raise your butt in the air. Do not clasp your hands in front of you. Keep your neck neutral. Now set a timer and see how long you can hold it.
I can tell you what to do, but sometimes it is more effective to tell you what NOT to do.
TIPS TO HOLD A LONGER PLANK
Planks are hard. If you've never done them before or have taken considerable time away from planks, it is can take some time to build up your core strength and endurance. Be patient and consistent
1. Get in a plank position and do a quick check to make sure you are not making any form mistakes.
2. Brace your abs like someone is going to punch you in the tummy. Hold it tight.
3. Squeeze and hold your butt muscles while in plank position. This helps release tight hip flexors also.
4. Set the timer on your phone but immediately turn your phone over so you can't see the screen and how much time has passed. So much of this is mental. Staring at the timer can make 10 seconds feel like 10 minutes!
5. While bracing and holding, take a deep belly breath in through your nose and mouth and breath out. Count breaths in and out. See how many breaths in/out you can do while staying in plank position. Counting breaths instead of seconds also helps distract your brain.
6. Keep track of your time, but each time you plank try to meet or beat the number of breaths in/out that you can do while maintaining the plank position.
7. If your lower back starts to hurt then stop for the day and try again tomorrow or the next day.
Good luck! Give it a try and let me know how long you can hold it! Keep working at planks until you can hold for one or two minutes max. There is little benefit to holding longer than two minutes. It's ok to start slow and build up over time. If you work at it consistently you may surprise yourself at how fast you progress.
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