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How to Do a Plank Properly

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plank is a simple but effective exercise that requires no special equipment and can be performed anywhere. It strengthens your abdominal, back, and shoulder muscles, as well as your glutes. 5-Minute Crafts will show you how to do this exercise properly.

Warning: Avoid planking if you’re recovering from surgery, have back, neck, and shoulder pain, or experience dizziness.

Standard straight-arm plank

How to do it:

  • Start by lying on the floor with your face down.
  • Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders.
  • Ground your toes into the floor.
  • Raise your body until your arms are completely straight.
  • Make sure that your body forms a straight line from your head to the heels.
  • Look down at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles, drawing your navel inward.

Tip: At first, hold the pose for 10 seconds. But as you get more comfortable with it, extend the amount of time up to 30, 45, or 60 seconds.

Modification 1: forearm plank

How to do it:

  • Lie on the floor with your face down, legs extended, your bent elbows placed directly under your shoulders, and your forearms in front of you.
  • Tuck your toes to the floor and lift your body up.
  • Your forearms should remain on the ground and your body should form a straight line from your head to the heels.
  • Make sure you’re engaging your core by pulling your belly button up to the ceiling.
  • Spread the weight of your body evenly among your toes and elbows.
  • Keep your eyes down on the ground, looking at a spot between your hands.

Tip: You can either keep your hands in fists or flatten them out on the ground — both ways are fine.

Modification 2: straight-arm plank on the knees

How to do it:

  • Get down to the same position, as if you were doing a straight-arm plank, but keep your knees on the ground.
  • Your body should make a straight line from your head to the knees and your gaze should be directed down to the floor.

Modification 3: forearm plank on the knees

How to do it:

  • Get to the floor with your face looking down and your elbows placed directly under your shoulders.
  • Keeping your knees and elbows on the ground, tighten your core muscles and raise your upper body.
  • Your knees and toes should remain on the floor and your body should make a straight line from your head to your knees.
  • Keep your eyes down on the ground, looking at a spot between your hands.

Common mistakes:

⛔ Arching your back: If you arch your back, you’re not engaging your abdominal muscles enough and are putting too much weight on your arms.

How to fix it:

Broaden your shoulders a bit more to reduce unnecessary shrugging and spread your bodyweight evenly.

⛔ Lowering your hips: If your hips begin to sink, your core muscles start to relax and you’ll put too much pressure on your lower back.

How to fix it:

✅ Squeeze your glutes and engage your core. You can also try separating your feet a bit wider.

Looking straight ahead or up: This can put unnecessary strain on your neck.

How to fix it:

✅ Keep your eyes looking down at the floor so that your head is in line with the rest of your body. You can also try drawing your chin in toward your chest.

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