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Plank guide, part 4: how not to plank

Here I show the most common mistakes people make when doing planks: head dropped, back arched, shoulders dropped and stomach in the shape of a cone.

If you tend to allow your head and/or shoulders to drop:
Push away from the floor with your forearms, lifting up with your head towards the ceiling but keeping your nose pointing down towards the floor. Think of your neck as a continuation of your spine.

If you arch your back:
Try to lift your pelvic floor by imagining you are ‘zipping up your fly’, but avoid rounding your upper back at the same time. Focus on finding a neutral position in the pelvis – both hip bones and your pubic bone should be level, even when planking! Your lower back should not hurt and you should not feel your intestines being pushed outwards. If you have lower back pain: find a neutral position and pull your navel in towards your spine.

If you feel like your intestines are pushing out:
This is a sign that your core is too weak, you need to take a step back. Maybe you should go back to a knee plank for a while and really focus on your breathing.

Other things to consider:

  • Go against the grain and forget about all of the plank challenges – make your planks harder instead, see the link below:
  • It’s fine to do planks every day if you want to. Alternate between side planks and straight planks.
    How soon you can do a plank after childbirth is very individual – it depends on how strong your core is, whether you exercised during pregnancy, etc. My suggestion is to simply try and see what you can do.

Updated January 13, 2022

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