Master the front plank to improve your core strength and stability. By Li Yuling
The plank is a super toner: It works the abs, obliques, back and hips. Compared to sit-ups and crunches, it’s more effective at toning the tummy. In fact, the plank strengthens the entire body because it activates muscles not just in the core but the limbs too. If there’s one exercise move you should add to your routine, it’s the plank. Now make sure you’re doing it right.
Start in push-up position. Bend arms at right angle, positioning elbows directly under shoulders; palms down and fingers facing forward. Tighten torso and legs, ensuring head is aligned with spine.
Some common mistakes when doing the plank include a rounded back, sagging hips or raised buttocks, says Amirrudin Ong, a coach at Ritual Gym. By doing this, you end up stressing the back, especially the lower back, and fail to engage the core.
To perfect the plank, imagine you have a tail at the base of your spine and need to tuck it in. Squeeze your butt and tighten the abs, as if bracing for a punch in the stomach. This will neutralise that pelvic tilt. If you have difficulty holding this position, do it with your knees on the floor.
Ritual ambassador Sarah Hodgens demonstrates the correct form and how to do a perfect plank: