Planks have become very popular as an abdominal workout.  According to the Journal of strength and conditioning research and Physical Living, planks activate significantly more of the “six pack” muscles than do crunches.

 

There are several types of planks, one is on hands and feet, another on elbows and feet, side plank, and reverse.  Side planks target the deltoid, oblique and the quad muscles. While planking on both hands and feet targets the anterior deltoid, oblique, abdominal, and quad muscles. 

Although it looks simply, there are a few techniques to the perfect plank. First, the arms should be directly under the shoulders with the weight distributed on the upper arm. In addition, the shoulders, hips and heels should be in line with each other. To do this the shoulders must be actively pushed down towards the ribcage. Also, be conscience about your head position; lengthening the neck will pull the head away from the shoulders. Lastly the abdominals should be engaged to help maintain a straight back.

Learning proper form is crucial in order to avoid any injuries. Otherwise you may be hurting yourself more than helping. Sagging of the bottom may cause lower back pain. Tighten the ab muscles to avoid sagging. Having too much of an upward arch will also decrease the effectiveness on the abs. The following are illustrations of the wrong and right ways to perform a plank.

 

Incorrect

Correct

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