If you really want to feel the burn in your stomach during a plank, get rid of these three common mistakes.
Raised butt and back
You don’t want your butt and hips to be in the air. You want to lean your body INTO the plank, not away. When you lean your body into the plank, your face will be slightly above your hands. This is the promise land where you feel the most burn. If you pull away from the plank, you’ll allow your butt to raise and you’ll lose its full benefit.
Sunken butt and back
When you let your back and stomach sink to the ground, you lose the entire purpose of doing a plank. Fight the burn and keep your stomach pulled inward. Keep your back and hips level and parallel to the floor.
The final culprit is an overly arched back:
Everyone has a natural arch in the back, but when planking and doing most ab work, you want to train yourself to pull your stomach inward and slightly tuck your butt in. This hallow position activates your stomach muscles and changes the shape of your back from arched or dipped to engaged and level. Keep trying to pull your stomach in deeper and deeper. Once you learn how to use your core, you’ll be able to make sure your stomach muscles do most of the work during the plank instead of allowing yourself to compensate. This is important for people who feel pain/discomfort in their lower back when planking.
To train your stomach the right way during a plank, follow these three tips:
Actively pull your belly button and lower core inward until you eliminate the arch in your back. There should be no space between your back and the floor.
Lean into the burn! Don’t pull away and stick your butt in the air. Your face should be slightly above your hands.
Plank for long enough! Train yourself to be able to hold a 2-minute plank without stopping. If you keep stopping every couple of seconds, you lose the effect. Once you’re able to hold two minutes without breaking, its time to turn it up. Plank with a weighted plate on your back (start with 10lbs then work your way up to 20-45lbs), then do one-legged planks where one leg is raised in the air. Finally, learn to plank on BOSU and stability balls. Your stomach will be on fire! But these plank progressions are one of the best ways to train the stomach.
Read my post on “Plank Progressions”