I remember hating this pose in high school gym class and while it has gotten significantly easier from doing 108 of them every single day for the past 99 days – it’s the first pose that I find myself “cheating” in. I can tell when I am getting tired in my practice when I start to sag in my lower back or round my shoulders in plank. This is usually my sign to slow it down or stop and return to my practice later in the day.
Plank pose is typically used as a transitional pose in yoga, and is used as a strengthening exercise in many fitness and sports programs. In yoga classes, proper alignment of Plank pose is often overlooked and I am as guilty as the next teacher! This pose is however, a foundational pose to many arm balancing poses and helps to build strength and stamina in your practice. So, without further ado – here is my little instructional video where I lead you into this power packed pose!
- Tones all core muscles of the body, including the abdomen, chest, and lower back
- Strengthens the arms, wrists, and shoulders, and is often used to prepare the body for more challenging arm balances
- Strengthens the muscles surrounding the spine, improving posture
- Builds endurance and stamina
- Tones the nervous system
Plank is an essential component of Sun Salutations and is often used as a transitional pose. It can also be practiced on its own to build strength and stamina.
Modification and Props:
- If you are new to the pose, lower your knees onto the mat in Half Plank Pose and work on building strength from here until you are able to do the full pose. Make sure to keep your head and spine in a straight line, avoiding any dips or bumps in your lower back and shoulders.
- If your wrists get sore, you can roll the top edge of your mat and rest the base of your palms on the extra cushioning with your fingers gently curled. Press down through your index fingers to relieve extra pressure on your wrists.
- Another option for sore wrists, or if you have a history of carpal tunnel syndrome is to make fists with your hands, keeping the same alignment with your arms or shoulders.
For more of a challenge, try a one legged version by lifting one foot off of the mat at a time and either holding with the leg extended, or bringing the knee in to your chest. Then switch legs!