A strong healthy practice, starts with a strong healthy core.
Those of you who know me or have taken one of my classes know that I LOVE planks!! I am sure to incorporate tons of planks into my flows. When coming to class, you can expect planks, side planks, plank holds, and plank push-ups 🙂
The plank is one of the best exercises you can do for your core because it works your transverse abdominals or your “six pack” abdominal muscles. It also helps to engage your back, arms, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. Just a few of the reasons why I love planks so much!
Below are a three simple plank variations.
1. Plank- powers up your whole body.
You can begin on all fours- shoulder over wrists and hips over knees. Your spine is long and your belly is engaged. Press feet back- reach heels back and firm the legs, pressing thighs together. Press hands and fingers firmly into the mat. Lengthen your neck; the crown of the head moves forward. Press shoulders away from your ears, send them down your back. Engage you abdominals and grow longer. Breathe!
To come out: slowly lower to the mat, come to child’s pose, or press back for down dog.
2. Forearm Plank-
Similar to plank but in this pose, we place the forearms and palms on the floor. Be sure your elbows are bent and are under your shoulders, fore arms are vertical on the mat. Walk your feet back, keeping your legs and pelvis in line with your shoulders. Gently draw your front ribs and lower belly in towards your spine. Reach your pelvis and thighs through your heels. Lengthen out through the crown of your head.
3. Side Plank- strengthens the obliques, while the abdominals work to stabilize the entire body.
Start in plank. Shift your weight onto your left arm/hand and the outside edge of your left foot. Place your right foot on top of your left foot. Keeping your wrist, elbow, and shoulder in one straight line, open your chest and relax your neck. Right arm reaches towards the ceiling. Breath, contract your abs and hold for 30 seconds, switch sides.