Plank pose is a great posture for strengthening the abdominals, arms, shoulders and back muscles. We have been practicing this in class and will continue next half term, extending the duration and possibly having a go at some variations such as leg raises and side plank. EXCITING!
Here is a handy guide to help you to learn the safe way to do the plank pose…
Begin on all 4s ensuring you are near the top of your mat and that the shoulders are over the wrists. Your gaze is down. Breathe in relaxing the tummy muscles then breathe out and squeeze them back towards the spine – keep your spine in neutral.
Holding the tummy muscles inwards extend one leg so that your leg is straight. Press the toes into the mat. Consciously breathe in and out of the chest.
If you feel comfortable in the wrists and in your lower back, extend the other leg in the same way. Try to hold for 5 smooth breaths resting after in Childs pose.
In Plank pose, be aware of where your hips are – sometimes they droop downwards and sometimes they stick up in the air. Both positions indicate a weakness. If you can’t hold the hips in a straight line between the shoulders and the heel it’s best to come down. Work with some of our other postures to build up strength in the wrists/tummy/back/shoulders before trying again. Examples are Marjari-asana and the Shakti Bandha asana. You can extend 1 leg in a half-plank and hold this for 5 breaths to get the ‘feel’ of the posture.
You can read more about the benefits of Plank pose on this webpage.