What if, I told you that the planks you’re doing are not a plank? Here’s the truth about what a real plank is as quoted by Bruce Lee (a punch isn’t a punch until you learn a punch, and when I learnt to punch..a punch is a punch).
The plank will benefit anyone who’s looking to gain strength in the mid section either for rehab purposes, performance and of course physically ripped abs! Like most things we do in life, we need out core (the midsection that bridges our upper and lower body) to hold our posture or to prevent injuries especially to the spine. Weak core can contribute to postural problem which causes the body to be in a hunched back manner, herniated discs also known as slipped disc which is caused by poor load distribution of the spine and due to weak core muscles to hold the spine into its place! Let’s start by saying that whoever has been doing the plank for many months maybe even years being able to hold the position will not even make it past 20secs!! Prepare yourself for a groundbreaking plank exercise that actually works!
Before we do it let me take you to the basics to understand how and what goes on. Let’s take a look at what’s involved and where your core(midsection) is:
If you were to raise both hands up in the air, you will soon realize that your
Midsection will start from the armpit right up to the glutes(butt). Now when doing the plank, it’s jus about as important to getting as much contraction between two points to make it more effective as what we call “concentric”. Now let’s put a dumbbell into one of your hands and jus isometrically(static contraction) hold that position(no muscle length change) versus doin a curl(has muscle length shorten and lengthen) as there will be much muscular effort due to more contraction. There will be a few steps you are going to take before proceeding into the plank that will make you have the mid section that you never thought possible just by adding bit of “hard style”.
Step 1: Assume the plank position while you are standing up, practice activating your lats by pulling both your shoulders and elbows down towards your ankle. You can imagine tryin to lengthen your neck and try and pull those shoulders and think stand tall Now you want to be able to hold the position and cause you lats to have constant tension while breathing! Repeat a few more time until your able to hold or activate your lats comfortably when ever you have to. (VIDEO)
Step2: This will be the easiest part, stand with your feet jus few centimeters away from each other, now try and activate your glutes by tensing them and hold it for a few seconds in and a few seconds off period where you relax the muscles. Lock the knees to achieve “maximal squeeze”! If you literally can’t feel any muscles of the butt tensing up, I would suggest you try and get your body to be efficient in firing these muscles to work. Single leg rear extension-VIDEO. (VIDEO)
Step 3: Stand up with you feet jus inches off, now while breathing you want to have yourself “bracing” your abs. Now think about hardening, not sucking your stomach in towards your spine as this doesn’t create any form of stability for weight training when lifting heavily. These are some pointers which you might find handy to increase the full body tension. Clench your fist, squeeze your glutes and thighs and for each time you breathe out learn how to contract your abdominals, training you to be able to breathe while still having full body tension which will transfer in being able to lift heavier weights safely and of course stronger CORE! (VIDEO)
Now that you have all the small steps of the puzzle, it’s time to put them into place. Start practicing and let us know how it’s helped! (VIDEO)
Note: While doing the hard style plank, you will want to regulate your breathing and not hold it.
feel free to ask me any questions!