Like any other powerful exercise that has the power to strengthen your core, tighten your thigh jiggle and improve your overall health, there’s an art to it. When it comes to perfecting the plank, focus and form is everything. Keep reading, because you’ll find this to be the blueprint one of the most life changing exercises you could incorporate into your weekly exercise routine.

Start Off Strong

The plank looks easy, but if you aren’t’ doing it right, you’ll quickly see how challenging (and painful) it can be. The benefit of the plank exercise is that it’s an amazing workout for the back and abs. If you are weak in those areas, you need the plank! However, paying attention to the placement of your back—especially your lower back—is key. Do it right and you’ll become addicted to this workout for years to come (and credit it for your toned, chiseled abs!)

The Plank Position

portrait fitness training athletic sporty woman doing plank exercise in gym or yoga class concept exercising workout aerobicStart off as though you’re about to do a push-up. Make sure your hands are face down and placed under your shoulders. Contract your abdomen, and squeeze your glutes. Your legs should be extended, but your knees shouldn’t be locked. Your arms can be in two different positions—fully extended (as you be for a push-up) or with elbows and forearms flat on the floor. Look down, making sure that your head in level with your back, and hold this position for about 20-30 seconds.

Check in With Your Form

If your back is killing you, your form is off. In other words, your lower back has probably collapsed. Here’s some easy ways to fix it:

  • Get a broomstick. Have your workout buddy, spouse, etc. get a broomstick help you to align your spine correctly. The broomstick should touch three points on your back side: your head, shoulder blades and buttocks. If it doesn’t, don’t resume this exercise until you’ve repositioned your body so it does.
  • If you’re feeling off and in pain, check your breath. Are you holding your breath, or inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth (as you should be?) Roll your shoulders back, and reposition your lower back if it’s collapsed.

Woman's AbsThere are endless benefits to adding the plank to your daily workout. Whether you want to tighten your mid-section, improve the overall health and shape of your back, or achieve better balance, perfecting the plank is a must. Within weeks, you’ll begin to notice amazing transformations from head to toe.