Yoga Is For Everyone: Planks for Building Strength

Myth:  I'm not Strong Enough

You ARE strong enough!  The best part of yoga is your personal practice is just that - personal.  When I hear people tell me they can't do yoga because they are not strong enough, I tell them that's exactly why they should do yoga.  

Plank pose is the perfect building block to improve core strength and can be done anywhere.  If you are beginning your yoga practice and want to focus on building core strength, do a plank pose every day for a month.  You will be amazed how much stronger you will be.

Why Plank Pose?

Plank pose is an isometric exercise that targets your core, which is key to any yoga practice.  Plank pose is relatively easy to set up, but can be hard to hold - in the beginning.  If I don't have time for a full workout, I'll hold plank pose for 3-5 minutes integrating variations.  I certainly didn't start out holding my plank that long!

Where do I begin?

Start with 5-15 seconds and add time each day until you can hold your plank for 1-2 minutes.  If you start at 5 or 15 seconds and need to be there for a week, that's just fine!  Listen to your body.  Start and progress at a rate that is right for you.  You will reap the benefits of this pose no matter where you are in your practice.

Here are a couple of variations of plank pose: 

High Plank Pose

Start in a push up position aligning your shoulders over your wrists, heels over your toes and relax your neck to send your gaze down to your Manduka Welcome Yoga and Pilates Mat, Harbour, 5mm, 68"">mat.  Make sure to lift your hips up in line with your shoulders and contract your abdominal muscles.

Plank Pose

Plank Pose

Form and alignment are the most important aspects of any yoga pose - not how long you can hold the pose.  If your hips start to sink lower than shoulder level, release the pose.  You can also begin on your knees and focus on alignment of your shoulders over your wrists, working up to a full push-up position.

Forearm Plank

Start in a push up position and lower down to your forearms.  Align your shoulders over your elbows, heels over your toes and keep your hips in line with your shoulders just as in high plank.

Forearm Plank

Forearm Plank

Get Started!

Here is an example month, but remember to listen to your body and progress at your own pace.  

Week 1

High Plank Pose Hold - 5 or 15 seconds 

Forearm Plank Hold - 5 or 15 seconds

Week 2

High Plank Pose Hold - 15 or 30 seconds

Forearm Plank Hold - 15 or 30 seconds

Week 3

High Plank Pose Hold - 30 or 45 seconds

Forearm Plank Hold - 30 or 45 seconds

Week 4

High Plank Pose Hold - 45 seconds or 1 minute

Forearm Plank Hold - 45 seconds or 1 minute

Congratulations, you did it!