Various media sources are hyping the plank exercise and challenging people to practice it for longer periods of time each day.
It's absolutely true that the plank is a great exercise to strengthen the abdominal and low back muscles. In order to reap the benefits, the exercise must be done correctly.
If you're new to it, I recommend getting in front of a mirror. The plank can be completed on either the forearms or hands. Either way, the purpose is to engage the abdominal muscles.
Note in the images below:
- Toes on the floor
- Head in-line with the spine = looking slightly forward and down
- Butt is slightly raised (NOT sinking into the hips)
- Belly is button pulled into the spine
- Smile, and keep breathing!
When the plank is done correctly, you should feel a slight tremble in the abdominal and low back muscles. This should create muscle fatigue, but NOT PAIN.
Here's an image to get you started on "the plank:"