Name: The Front Plank
Also known as: Prone Bridge
Main muscles used: Stomach
Other muscles used: Muscles on the front side of the body
- Pull the shoulder blades back and down, while sticking the chest out and up.
- Set the belly in the right position early on by thinking of doing a standard abdominal crunch, or thinking “belly up, bum tucked under“.
- Avoid kinks, lumps or bumps along your body. Especially near the hips/knees/belly/shoulders.
- Stay rock solid still, but if your belly starts to give way, and you start to feel a pinching at your lower back, bring the exercise to an end.
- If you are new to this exercise, or don’t have strong stomach muscles yet, get into position by lowering your hips down, rather than lifting them up.
- Beginners – hold the correct position for 3×10 seconds.
- Intermediate – hold the correct position for 3×30 seconds.
- Advanced – hold the correct position for 1×90 seconds.
- Once you can hold this position correctly for 90 seconds, it is certainly time to find harder versions, or to apply it in various other exercises you do.
- Relaxing the belly and letting it sag/hang down – this is dangerous.
- Sticking your bum high up in the air – this is easy (but not dangerous).
Comments: The ideal Plank should have your body dead flat and your spine in a neutral (but horizontal) posture. Learn how to do it in this difficult position, and you will find it easy in most other situations. The Plank is an exercise that crosses over into many other exercises/situations. The two most obvious ones for me are:
- Pressups. You are essentially in the same position, but with the added difficulty of having to move at the same time.
- Punching an object. Here, the upper part of your body is being forced back by the resistance of the target. Without being able to do the Plank, your upper spine would just fold backwards under the pressure.