Many lifters need to work on building core strength the right way. They think all those fancy exercises on social media work wonders until they try them. Also, some sit all day at work with a hunched back, then subject themselves to more bending while squatting like crazy. But do you know which basic exercise is not sexy and never goes out of style? If you guessed the board, you’d be right.
Planks will strengthen your abs, quads, and glutes and reduce back pain. Planks aren’t glamorous, but they are effective. We’ll dive into technical tips to make your boards more efficient and five board variations to improve your base game.
Board technical advice
The key, as always when it comes to performing planks, is to maintain a neutral spine as all of the benefits of the plank mentioned above disappear. And it’s not magic. Use these three tips below to make it happen.
- Push with your elbows and hands: Whether you rest the board on your elbows or hands, push them straight into the ground, a stability ball, or a suspension trainer to help maintain a neutral spine. This tension is necessary to maintain a neutral spine and to keep the upper back and shoulders fully engaged.
- Tighten your glutes: When you squeeze your glutes together, your lower back flattens to keep your spine neutral. This is essential for maintaining a neutral spine for all plank variations.
- Breathe: There’s a tendency to hold your breath when doing planks, which isn’t a big deal unless you have high blood pressure. But when you breathe while you plank, more tension is needed to stabilize the core, and the more muscles will work as core stabilizer muscles during your plank. Try it; you will be pleasantly surprised.