How to Fix The 2 Biggest Plank Mistakes

The plank is an amazing exercise to build a strong core and resilient hips. It can go a long way to building a bulletproof torso, and a pain free lower back. It’s a go to in most effective fitness programs.

However a lot of people make 2 really big mistakes that ruin the benefits of the plank.

If you’re not performing any exercise with good, or great technique you’re not going to get the results you want. Slowing down and simplifying the exercise in order to practice your technique is always more beneficial than grinding through the exercise with improper technique.

Mistake # 1 : High Butt

The first mistake is what I like to call Nicki Minaj Butt. Because…..her whole career is based on her sticking her butt out.

It’s when your hips end up much higher than your head, with your butt pointing towards the ceiling. This always happens when people get tired to lazy during their plank.

This is a massive problem because it’s not really a plank. It’s just kind of hanging out on the ground.

For a plank to be effective your hips and shoulders must be aligned. When your hips and shoulders are aligned your glutes, obliques and abs can fire together and create a rigid line.

When your body is not aligned you disengaging your core, lats, obliques and glutes. The sheer force that should be absorbed by those muscle groups is now placed directly on your lumbar spine. This is a huge problem that will lead to injury and dysfunctional movement.

The Fix: Brace Your Stomach like Someone is Going to Kick You in the Gut

You know when you were little and your older brother or sister would try and make you flinch by pretending to punch you in the stomach? What would you do?

You would expand your belly, and flex all the muscles in order to shield yourself as best you could against the threat of that punch. You would make everything tight, and take a deep breath.

That’s exactly how you brace your core.

To do this properly you need to take a deep breath into your diaphragm, and focus on bringing your ribs closer to your hips. Imagine that there’s a line running directly from the front of your hips to the bottom of your ribs. When you are aligned this line is short and compact, when you’re unaligned this line is long and curved.

You want to shorten the line in order to keep your body aligned.

Mistake #2: Shaky Hips

I’m sure this has happened to you when you were tired, or you just didn’t feel like exercising.

The second mistake is when your hips sway side to side like they are a flag blowing in the wind. This also causes your body to be unstable and loses all the benefits of a plank.

The Fix: Imagine there’s a Cup of Water on Your Butt and you Can’t Spill It

When you get into your plank position imagine someone put a cup of water right on your lower back or your butt. It’s your job to not spill this water.

If you sway side to side the water spills and you end up with a wet ass. That means you failed.

A lot of times your stability gives out because you’re simply tuned out, or not paying attention. If you want your training sessions to be effective and worthwhile you cannot tune out, you have to be dialed into every movement and focus on performance.

Imagining a cup of water on your butt adds a tiny element of danger to this exercise, and will hopefully force you to pay a little more attention to how you’re holding yourself.

It’s also kind of fun, and a little challenge that makes it easier to focus on what you’re doing, instead of waiting for the clock to tick to zero.

Planks are an excellent exercise to build core strength, stability and coordination. They’re effective when done correctly, with focus and proper alignment. They’re useless when done with bad form, and that bad form can lead to injury and movement dysfunction.

Take some time to dial back and focus on your technique so you can build long term results.

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Patrick Henigan