The Plank helps strengthen the core  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- You need to strengthen your core so as to have a stronger lower back.
- Weak core and bad posture can give you lower back pain.
- The plank is one exercise that can strengthen your core and help banish the pain.
Due to our hectic schedules at work, play, and home, we tend to not listen to the body much. When finally aches and pains hit, we realise that we cannot push it any further. The aches, the debilitating soreness of lower-back pain, make us want to do is stay in bed. But research shows that doing a combination of strength and aerobic exercises and stretching two to three times a week can help prevent and ease lower-back pain.
The exercises that relieve pain are not to be done in a hurry, but rather with ease and patience. You can play some soothing music and use this stretching time as a chance to relax and renew. And breathe easy and calmly.
How well you can plank depends upon how strong is your core. The good part is that you can strengthen your core over time with dedication and guidance from expert trainers. A plank is a full-body exercise that requires the proper engagement of the thighs, arms and back. If your core muscles are weak, not strong enough, your body then taxes the adjacent muscles and you develop lower back pain.
Planks help you strengthen the core and banish the low back pain if you do it every day in the correct manner.
Because the plank exercise requires minimal movement while contracting all layers of the abdominal fascia, it is an excellent way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low-back pain. As the deep abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section tightens. When done properly, the plank not only uses the deep abdominal muscles, it also recruits the hip, shoulder and upper-back muscles.
(The Plank: Pic source – iStockImages)
How to do an effective plank:
- Spread out a yoga/exercise mat that has an anti-skid texture.
- Lie facedown with your forearms on the floor, with your legs extended and your feet together.
- Push into your forearms as you raise your body so it forms a straight line from your head and neck to your feet. (Do not let your hips rise or sag.)
- Hold your chin close to your neck, your gaze down. Mentally, assume that there is a fire below and you do not wish to touch your stomach to the ground.
- In this position, brace your abdominals—tight enough to handle even a punch in the stomach, squeeze your gluteal (tailbone) and thigh muscles simultaneously.
- Continue to breathe normally as you hold a plank for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
- Rest for approximately one minute and repeat three to five more times.
This is a pretty basic plank. You can progress up to a high plank when you feel you have developed the necessary strength.
Here are a few tips to help you plank better:
When you first start to do planks, you may find it tough to hold the plank pose for very long. It becomes easier with practice. SO keep at it, do not cheat, do not give up.
Switch positions to remove discomfort. If resting on your forearms is uncomfortable, do the plank from a push-up position, with your arms fully extended.
Do not neglect back pain signals. If your back hurts, either perform the plank while on your knees or stand straight and lean against firm support like a heavy table such that your body is at a 45° angle.
As an advanced plank to attempt later, you can try alternating leg lifts during the pose: raise one leg for a second or two, and then repeat with the other leg.
For chronic pain that bothers you, do see a doctor immediately.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.