How To Practice Plank Pose
When done with proper form and alignment, Plank Pose becomes a force to be reckoned with. To ensure youre getting the most burn for your buck follow these simple steps for the perfect Plank!
- Begin in the top of a push-up with your elbows directly under your shoulders
- Engage your abdominal muscles to squeeze your belly button up towards your spine while maintaining a neutral back
- Contract your quadriceps and gluteal muscles to firm your legs
- Keep your shoulders drawing away from your ears, and heels over the balls of your feet
;Not sure how long you should hold your Plank Pose? Stay until you feel you cant keep proper alignment anymore, or try holding it until you feel your muscles starting to burn and your body starting to shake/quiver then hold it another 15-30 seconds.;
The Plank Pose Step By Step
- Begin on your hands and knees on the mat, with your wrists directly under your shoulders.
- Tuck your toes under and extend your legs straight out behind you, one at a time, keeping your arms perpendicular to the mat.
- Look straight down at the floor, keeping your neck aligned with your straight spine.
- Pull your abdominal muscles in so your hips dont sag, but dont allow them to rise up, either.
- Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.
- Release the pose by dropping your knees to the floor.
The easiest way to do a plank is to start with the four-point position, with your hands and knees flat on the floor and your back straight. The most important aspect of the plank, in terms of safety and technical efficiency, is to strengthen the abdomen. Once you are in this position, activate your abdominal muscles and try to keep your spine as straight as possible.
Keep your abdominal muscles contracted, and push your lower ribs inward. It is important to maintain this central position throughout the movement.
Strengthens The Thigh Muscles
Due to the previously mentioned isometric contractions that occur during plank pose, the thigh muscles are also strengthened. These muscles are one of the largest skeletal muscle groups in the human body, and consist of the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, rectus femoris, and vastus intermedialis. During plank pose, yoga teachers often advise to lift the kneecaps. What this action is doing is engaging the quadriceps muscles. By keeping these muscles engaged throughout plank pose, they are strengthened. However, often yogis will forget about their quadriceps in plank, and dump more of their weight and energy into the shoulders and hands. By engaging the quadriceps, not only are these muscles strengthened, but injury or undue stress in other parts of the body are reduced.
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How To Do Plank Pose In Yoga
Plank Pose Kumbhakasana is an arm balancing yoga pose that tones the abdominal muscles while strengthening the arms and spine. Its name comes from the Sanskrit words “kumbhak,” which means “breath retention,” and “asana,” which means;”pose.”;In the traditional practice of this pose, you would hold your breath for a brief moment before lowering your body into the low push-up position . Plank is an essential component of Sun Salutations;and is often used as a transitional pose, in which the breath is not held. It can also be practiced on its own to build strength and stamina.
The Plank Pose And The Solar Plexus Chakra
The plank pose not only makes your body stronger but it also boosts your confidence in your own abilities.
It does so because the asana stimulates the solar plexus chakra, the energetic point that deals with your inner fire and digestive system.
This energetic point is best stimulated in people who are a little bit on the shy side, who hate being put in the spotlight and do not have the motivation to get things done properly.
The plank pose also helps with digestive issues by stimulating the core as well as an energetic point that is linked to this part of the human body.
On the flip side, if your solar plexus chakra is too open in your body, you will experience too much âfireâ in your personality. This may include fearlessness, overly confidence, and naivety.
Ideally, you should aspire for a balanced solar plexus. So if you feel like you are on the low side, the plank pose is perfect for you. However, if you exhibit traits that show too much of this chakra in your body, you should probably avoid it.
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Modified Side Plank With One Foot On Floor
From Plank Pose, step your right foot back halfway on the mat and turn both feet to face the right side of your mat. Youll end up in Side Plank with your left hand down, right arm up, and right knee and right toes pointing to the right side of your mat. Press down into both feet and lift your hips high.
Shifting Forward To Plank Pose
Plank pose can also be reached from downward facing dog in a simple and elegant transition. In downward facing dog, the yogis hands are already planted shoulder width apart, and there is ideally a bodys length between the hands and feet. The yogi merely has to inhale and press back in downward facing dog, and then exhale and shift the body weight forward into plank pose, so the shoulders are positioned above the wrists.
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Plank Pose Variations Galore
Cross it up Come into plank pose + cross one ankle on top of the other. Squeeze the thighs together to work the quads and core. Hold, breathe, switch.
Funkified Half Chaturanga, half forearm? Okay! From forearm plank, reposition one of your arms so its in Chaturanga elbow tucks in to side waist and you create an angle with your elbow, upper forearm, and upper arm. Shift your focus forward and switch after 5 breaths.
Wide From forearm or traditional plank tag a huge step out with your feet so they come to the edge of your mat or wider. Zip up the muscles along the inner leg and engage, engage, engage. While youre at it, say hello to your quads!
Tree Take tree from plank pose by moving the leg of your choice to the inside of your base legs ankle, calf, or thigh. Work on the alignment in the upper body as well as core and breathing control. To kick it up from here, lower to Chaturanga and then press back up to plank. Switch!
Flying Plank From forearm or traditional plank pose, dig your back toes into the mat and begin to bend your knee to float the leg of your choice forward. Let it hover as your knee bends in towards your elbow, arm, or midline. Keep your spine straight and your abdominals contracted.
All of these plays on plank with keep your planking practice fresh and begin to build confidence, strength, and endurance in your traditional plank pose.
Modifying Dolphin Plank Pose For Leg Strength
For an extra challenge, as you hold the pose, lift one leg up into the air. Balance on your remaining leg and the two arms. Breathe in that pose for a few moments. Then lower the first leg and lift the second leg in the air. Try different heights of leg. You can also try swirling the foot slowly while it is in the air.
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Dolphin Plank Pose For Mental Focus
Dolphin Plank Pose is an endurance feat. Your stomach will shake. Your legs will quiver. Somehow you have to find that concentration and mental attention to get through it. You want to hang on just for one more second. Always listen to your body, so you dont hurt yourself. At the same time, look for those small daily improvements.
Plank Pose: The Takeaway
With such diverse and rewarding benefits, its easy to understand why Plank Pose is so popular among yogis and exercise enthusiasts alike. Whether youre just starting out or adding time onto your already killer plank, remember that quality always beats quantity . The moment your form begins to falter is the moment its time to take a step back and try again tomorrow.;Ultimately, enjoy your practice. With time, you will grow stronger and steadier. And when that time comes . . . add on another 15-30 seconds to your Plank Pose. ;
Make Use Of The Muscles Of The Arms And Upper Back
When you actively engage the muscles through the arms and the upper back, this pose can actually start to feel really empowering. With straight arms, actively press the mat away from you and draw the tricep muscles in towards each other.
As you do, youll feel the upper back and upper arms switch on. Take care not to crunch at all through the shoulders. You want to keep the shoulder blades down the back, away from the ears, creating lots of space for your neck.
How To Practice Classic Side Plank Pose Or With Separated Feet
To practice the classic Side Plank Pose or the version with separated feet, start in Downward Facing Dog Pose.;
Lift into your back body as you glide forward into Plank Pose. Lengthen your body and lift your ribcage away from your shoulders before you turn onto the outer edge of one of your feet.;
Stack the other leg on top of the base leg for the classic pose. Alternatively, you can place your top foot slightly forward of your bottom foot for the separated-feet version.
Your top arm can extend toward the ceiling in line with your other arm and your collarbones.;
I like to imagine that theres a wall behind me and send my weight back into my back body as if I were leaning on that wall. It helps me to align with my spine, which makes extending the pose from head to heel easier. The longer your body, the lighter the pose will feel.
Reprinted with permission from Yogafortimesofchange.com
Bridget Frederick, eRYT 500, is a graduate of The Berkeley Yoga Room Advanced Studies Program. With a strong focus on anatomy, balance, and core strength, her classes aim to make yoga accessible to anyone who is interested in finding the relief, strength, or stillness that yoga can offer. Inspiration for her teaching comes from current and former teachers Donald Moyer, Mary Lou Weprin, Julie Gudmestad, Gay White, Ada Lusardi, Sandy Blaine, and Herta Weinstein.
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Plank Pose: Knees Down Version
Because this version is between the chair and classic versions in difficulty, it is a good transition from one to the other. It is also a good substitute for Upward-Facing Dog Pose or Cobra during Sun Salutations if you want a beneficial alternative.;
If you know youll need padding for your knees, start by placing a folded blanket in the middle of your mat. Then come in the classic version as instructed above just for a moment. Now bend your knees and drop them down to the floor or blanket. With your knees touching, lift your shinbones up towards the ceiling, and bring your hips in line with your knees and shoulders, maintaining a shoulders-over-the-wrists alignment. This may require moving your hands forward or back a few inches, but do this movement lightly to keep the impact on the wrists to a minimum.
Use the same timing as the classic version. To come out of the pose, simply push yourself back to Child’s Pose. Then release your wrists with some small circular movements.;Repeat one to two more times.;
Lifting Up To Plank Pose
This transition to plank pose requires the most amount of core strength. Starting from chatturanga, where the elbows are bent straight back in a right angle, and the whole body is held at shoulder height, the yogi inhales and lifts up into plank pose. This is a very difficult way to enter plank pose because the yogi is acting against gravity, rather than with it. A good modification to make this transition more accessible is to lower the knees to the mat.
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Plank Pose Prep & Practice
Beginning in Downward Facing Dog , on an inhalation shift forward, stacking shoulders over wrists, feet in neutral, pressing back energetically through the heels.
Ankles, knees, and hips face the floor, thighs hug in toward one another in a slight internal rotation, kneecaps gently activate and lift.
Hip points level and square to the floor, front ribs knit in as tailbone lengthens toward heels.;
Side bodies lengthen away from hips, shoulders draw down and back, chest widens and heart shines forward.
Weight evenly distributed in both hands, wrist, elbow and shoulder joints in line.; Head is a natural extension of the neck, neck and jaw relaxed.
Breath is steady, legs, abdominals and arms energized and engaged, energy out the heels.
To come out of the pose, on an exhalation lower the knees onto the mat and rest in Childs Pose .
Summary Of Plank Pose
The Plank Pose is perhaps one of the most common poses outside of the yoga field. It is practiced by many people regardless of the type of sports they do. Phalakasana focuses on balancing your body using your arms. It is a great pose to tone your abdominal muscles, stretch the spine, and strengthen the arms. Plank is an essential component of Sun Salutations and is often used as a transitional pose.
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Dolphin Plank Pose Tutorial
1.);Begin on your hands and knees on your mat.
2.) Come down on to your forearms with your palms flat on the floor just in front of your shoulders.
3.) Now bring your legs out straight behind you on your toes. This should look like plank position from your shoulders down.
4.) Flex your heels and push them back to engage your core.
5.) Look down at the mat underneath your head. Hold this position for up to one minute.
6.) To release from this position, simply drop your knees back to the mat and sit back up on your knees.
How To Do Phalakasana / Plank Pose
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Strengthens The Triceps Muscle
Many people focus on strengthening their triceps muscles because the triceps contribute definition to the backs of the arms. However, there are also functional advantages to a strengthened triceps muscle such as better ability to lift objects and reduce fatigue. Plank pose is a powerful and useful way to strengthen and tone the triceps muscles. During plank pose, the arms are in a static position. The triceps muscles are engaged for the duration of the pose, in what is called an isometric contraction. This continual contraction of the triceps muscles will lead to stronger triceps, particularly as the duration and consistency of plank is built up over time.
Yoga Poses For Weight Loss
Yoga can provide numerous health benefits such as stress relief, better functioning of internal organs, increased metabolic rate and weight loss. If you practice yoga related to abdominal regions, it will help you burn your abdominal fat and helps in easy digestion. If you are a person who finds difficulty in losing weight then try doing yoga. Yoga will do miracles in your body. If you are committed to yoga, then there is no way back.
It is always best to practice this yoga on a flat stomach in the mornings. You can practice yoga on your daily schedule. You can start with yoga poses which are easy for you. And always do deep breathing during yoga. Women can ignore the complex poses during menstruation to avoid cramps.
Below are the effective poses of yoga for weight loss. Once you start doing the yoga, gradually increase the time so you can feel comfortable.
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A Final Note About Plank Pose
The world record for planking is 8h 15m 15s. World champions, however, do the modified version of Forearm Plank rather than Yoga Plank! What? Wimps.
The world record is something to keep in mind when your teacher asks you to hold this pose for 30 seconds. Dont complain and just do your best. With any luck they wont ask you to hold it for more than 8 hours, so things could be worse!
While were on the topic, whos into the idea of working to beat the world record with me? Wed do it the yogic way, in full plank, of course. Sounds like a fun challenge to work towards!
Namaste OMies, Stephen
I hope this post has been helpful in expanding your possibilities with Plank Pose. Its my goal to inspire you to explore your yoga practice more deeply while enabling you to cultivate the strength and clarity needed to live your life adventure to the fullest!