The front plank, on the elbows or on the hands, is one of the most well-known core muscle strengthening in sports training. It is simple to set up, does not require any equipment, and can therefore be performed anywhere, and is the base for many muscle strengthening exercises such as push up, burpees, etc…
What muscles do you train when doing the front plank?
See the illustration, showing the different muscles trained during the realization of the front plank, as discussed in this post.
How to do the front plank properly?
1- Stand on your elbows (or hands) and knees, feet joined together touching the ground.
2- Contract your quadriceps (thigh muscles) and your glutes, in order to place the pelvis in the right position. There should be no (almost) lumbar (lower back) curvature.
3- Take your knees off the floor and respect the hip, knee, and ankle alignment.
4- Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth, briefly. Maintain this position in isometry, i.e. without moving, taking care to keep the pelvis in position.
If you are a beginner, and if you train alone, don’t hesitate to film yourself to check that your body form is correct. If you feel that you are not maintaining the correct shape described above, stop the exercise immediately and correct the shape, as it becomes counter-productive and dangerous. When this is not possible because the variation you have chosen is too difficult for you, move on to an easier variation described below.
How can you reduce the difficulty of the board according to your strength?
It is possible and recommended adapting the difficulty of the exercise to your level, the main thing is to keep in good shape when doing the plank as described above, in order to progress efficiently and healthily.
To do this, place your hands higher than your feet, for example on a bench, while your feet remain on the ground. The higher your hands are, the easier the exercise will be, due to the lower load to be supported by your core muscles and shoulder.
Different variations of Front plank:
There are many variations of the front plank, which will work different muscles depending on the support you are training on, the position of your feet and hands, and their different possible demands. Here are a few examples:
– Front plank on a Swiss Ball: This work exercises the same muscles, making the exercises more difficult due to the instability introduced by the use of the Swiss ball.
– Front plank and knee raises: This work exercises the same muscles, making the exercises more difficult thanks to the instability introduced by the knee raises, accentuating the work of the deep muscles (stabilizing muscles of the trunk), and on the hip flexors.
– Front Plank and elevation of the feet or hands: This work uses the same muscles, making the exercises more difficult thanks to the instability introduced by the ascent of the feet or hands, accentuating the work of the deep muscles (stabilizing muscles of the trunk).
How do you progress on the front plank exercises?
As you progress in the practice of the board and master the basic exercise, and you can maintain it for 30 seconds without great difficulty, you will be able to move on to more difficult variations of the exercise.
The next time you practice, change the position of your hands and feet, or the support on which you are practicing, for example by adding instability under your hands or feet. You can then challenge your body differently, and eventually, you will be able to take this step forward to the next one, and discover new ways to challenge yourself!
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to answer you.