Although planks look relatively easy and painless, for anyone that has ever done one, we all know they are NOT! I love incorporating planks into my circuits and for more reason than one. Simply put, planks tighten your waist and that is what we all want.
Also commonly known as a hover or bridge, the plank is an ab exercise that functions a little differently to most. Planks are great because they place resistance on your whole core, but more importantly your transverse abdominus. Your "trans abs" are responsible for the compression of your waist and rib area. This helps to provide pelvic stability through limiting or preventing movement of your spine. But yes, you heard me correctly, they help to compress your waist, need I say more. A tight waist is all we want and doing the right ab work and including planks will certainly get you on your way there.
Plank positioning examples
Without getting too excited though... You all know I am so strict with technique. Planks are one of those exercises that when done wrong, can seriously set you back. Dipping your hips too low will place excess pressure on your lower back and alternatively lifting your hips too high will remove strain from your core and place resistance on your shoulders and elbows.
You should always think:
- Keep your body flat
- Belly in
- Shoulders over elbows
- Feet together
- Small waist, small waist, small waist! :)
I typically recommend rounds of 30-60 seconds amid any circuit training. You can also do them as standalone exercise where I would recommend 3 sets of "almost" failure. Remember to always keep your timer on to make sure you can track progress.