Yoga for Posture – 15 – Plank

Okay, I just realized that a few weeks ago I told you to work your rotator cuffs by doing straight armed push ups in plank, without bothering to go over plank. Let’s rectify that.

But Andrew, isn’t plank posture just holding a push up in the “up” position?

Why yes, yes it is. But do you know how to correctly hold your body when doing a push up? Judging by my experience over the last, oh, 35 years, probably not, most people don’t.

You see, push ups are generally considered an upper body exercise. Plank is a core strength exercise, which is one of the things that make it good for posture. Cast your mind back to the early weeks of Posture Monday, when I spent 2 weeks on dead bug and variations of dead bug. A strong core is one of the keys to good posture.

So, we all know that plank is simply a push up held in the up position, but while doing so keep in mind the following:

  • Lock your core to keep your spine in its neutral position
  • Keep your head level by looking straight down (don’t let your neck droop)
  • Work your cervical (neck) spine by lifting your chin straight up about an inch
  • Squeeze your butt cheeks (flex your lazy glute muscles)
    • Doing this during plank will make the exercise harder than you might expect
    • It will also help with sway back by tilting the pelvis back
  • You don’t have to do it straight armed.
    • I have osteoarthritis in my right wrist. There are days when doing push ups is extremely uncomfortable, and holding a plank for 1 minute is absolute torture. Not for my back or core, for my busted up wrist.
    • The modification is forearm plank, wherein you support yourself on your forearms rather than your palms/wrists. It gives you all the benefits of high plank, without the wrist pain

Hey now, a little more to it than you might have thought, eh? At any rate, doing 3 sets of  1 minute of this will do wonders for both your core strength and your posture.

Next time, for those of you who think this is too easy, we’ll add a bit of challenge.