Give it a Go - Plank to Press Up

Planks are a great exercise for working & challenging your core muscles (deep trunk muscles at the front, side and back and including the hips), which are essential for supporting the spine, ensuring good posture, and almost every movement we do on a daily basis. By strengthening your core muscles you will improve the effectiveness of any exercise you do and/or sport you play, your ability to function better on a day-to-day basis and help to prevent injury especially to the lower back. This blog will look at doing the plank with with a push up. Please see my previous blogs on 'Give it a Go - Plank' and 'Give it a Go - Basic Press Up' before attempting this version of the plank.

Performing the plank whilst doing a push up is a great way to challenge your core muscles and to give you a brilliant upper body and abdominal workout. Are you up for the challenge?

Whilst your core muscles are doing most of the work during the plank, your arms, chest, shoulders and legs are also getting a workout from holding the position and then when you have to transfer power into your arms to push yourself up. Being able to do planks correctly is an exercise many people struggle with.

Planks provide a great core workout (and yes will challenge your abdominal muscles) and are more effective than sit-ups and crunches because these exercises generally only work the superficial abdominal muscles. Doing the plank with push ups will also help you to burn lots of calories, will test your cardiovascular system and will develop your co-ordination, agility, power and balance. Are you up for a challenge?

Planks don't require any equipment, you don't need much room and they can be performed anywhere and varied in so many ways.

Poor plank technique is common, don't rush the exercise at the expense of form - you won't get the full benefit of the exercise. The following are a few tips on how to perform planks safely and correctly

  • Begin by lying on the floor on your front, so your forearms are flat on the floor, your shoulders are directly over your elbows and your legs are straight out behind you.
  • Raise your body off the floor so that your body weight is resting on your forearms and your toes. Keep looking at the floor, ensuring your feet are hip-width apart. Palms facing each other.
  • With control, moving 1 arm at a time push yourself up from the floor with your right arm first and then your left arm. You should now be in the starting position of a Press Up with your hands underneath your shoulders (approximately shoulder width apart) with your arms extended (elbows slightly bent) and your fingers facing forward. Back straight and abdominal muscles tight.
  • Then moving 1 arm at a time bend your right elbow first followed by your left and return yourself towards the floor so that you are in the starting Plank position. That is 1 repetition. Repeat with pushing up with the left arm first and continue the sequence for the desired repetitions.
  • Ensure your core is engaged throughout the exercise (e.g. tighten your abs) and that here is a straight line from your head to your ankles.
  • Breathe naturally and freely. If your lower back starts to hurt, stop the exercise immediately.
  • Avoid letting your hips/torso/back fall forward, sag in the middle or arch in the air and your elbows locking out when pushing up.

As a starter, aim to do this exercise for repetitions and see if you can do this 2-3 times. If you can't don't worry. Build up to it. You are best doing a correct plank to push up for 8 repetitions with safe and proper technique rather than 12 incorrect ones. Please see my bank of 'Give it a Go - Plank Exercises' and 'Give it a Go - Press Up Exercises'.

Please remember to warm up thoroughly before exercising and to speak to your GP before starting any exercise programme. Should you require any help, advice or information please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to discuss with you the tried and tested methods and lifestyle changes that I have developed to help people achieve their health and fitness goals.

Keep up the great work,

Live life actively,

Matt

 

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