Pose of the Month: Forearm Plank

Plank pose is a beautiful exercise that crosses the boundaries of yoga into fitness and vice versa.  It is a total body move that really focuses on core strength and developing excellent posture.  It is a foundational posture for other exercises in fitness like pushups, as well as in yoga as transitions from downward dog to upward dog.  In other words, you want to know this move and feel confident in the pose.  Here are some tips for executing a strong and effective forearm plank:

 Forearm plank

Forearm plank

  1. Keep the body in alignment: You want your shoulders over your elbows, your hips in between your shoulders and knees and your spine in a nice straight line from your head to your toes.  
  2. Press into the elbows and toes: It's fairly common to see folks sink down into their shoulder blades which causes the entire plank to sink towards the mat.  Press into your elbows to lift your spine up out of your shoulders.
  3. Tuck the hips up:  If you come to our classes you've heard several different cues for this.  You want to think about pulling the belly up towards the spine, to make a nice solid floor for the spine to rest on.  You may also think about curling the top of your hips up towards the bottoms of your ribs, almost like you're tucking your tail under.  
  4. Squeeze everything to the midline: You should feel everything gently pulling towards the center of your body.  The legs gently squeeze together, the ab muscles pull the ribs and belly up to the spine and the shoulder and triceps muscles squeeze in towards your body.
  5. Breathe: Use the stillness to focus on your breath.  Feel and see your breath moving in and out of your body and when you start to feel weak or shake, breathe a few more rounds.  Your body is stronger than you think!
 Hips too high

Hips too high

 Sinking into shoulders

Sinking into shoulders

Try it today:  Start out just by timing yourself to see how long you can maintain a plank (in proper form!).  Then, each day see if you can match that or beat it by a few seconds!  Feel free to share with us how you do, we're rooting for you!