Plank it out!

And exhale, walk out 1,2,3 and HOLD… then there’s a sudden moan throughout the class. That’s right we are now holding the PLANK! Or ‘leg pull front support’ as us Pilates folk would like to call it.

Personally, I love this position, okay there’s not many positions I don’t like, but I love what it does for the whole body and you really do feel a difference if you start to incorporate this into your daily routine. Now I’m not saying you have to hold this ‘Beckham Style’ for 7mins, just a gentle minute and you will start to feel a difference and quickly.

So, what is a Pilates plank? (Leg pull front support) Well it is when the hands are directly under the shoulders, feet are in a Pilates stance (heels together, toes a fist width apart) and the body is in a diagonal line from head, shoulders, hips, legs to toes. – Simple!

So why is it so good for us? Well… the beauty of this move is that it incorporates so many of our muscles it’s like the multitasking goddess, apologies to any men reading this 😊. Firstly, and hopefully fairly obviously it is working our abdominals; rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique and transversus. Its also takes care of our hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, quads… it carries on!

One of the things that I LOVE about this position, is the transversus’ job, this is our deepest abdominal muscle and by strengthening it helps us to find our connection and stabilisation with the back and pelvis, vital for everyday moving and if like me you have ever experienced back pain this is a fabulous way of helping to prevent further injury. So why do so many people get this wrong and then cause more damage to themselves? Let’s face it, some of the classes that you can come across these days tend to be over run and the instructor doesn’t always watch to see if the body is in the correct position. I just want to point out at this stage, this is NOT how I run my classes!

It is so important that if you are doing this position that you hold it correctly or you will inevitably cause more damage than good. Common mistakes in this position are the classic, hips too high or hips too low, falling into the shoulders, hyper extension on the arms and drooping of the neck. Hopefully the below picture will give you a good idea of how to hold this position in the correct and safe way.

Hopefully you understand a little more about the Pilates plank and how to hold it, however I thought I would give you just some final tips through imagery and squiggles to help you nail your Pilates plank. Imagine your body is being pulled in opposition from head to heel, feel strong like a piece of steel. Then imagine you have a sling under your hips pulling them up in line with the body. Push the hands into the floor feeling equal weight throughout the hands bringing you out of the shoulders.

Now then… CHALLENGE! Are you up for a challenge? I dare you! During October, I’m calling it ‘Planktober’, I challenge you to try building up your strength with a plank (leg pull front support). Work to your body’s ability 10 secs, 1 min or 2, choice is yours.

Remember hold strong, breathe and connect your deep abdominals, you can’t go wrong and you will feel AMAZING. So, exhale and walk out 1,2,3 and PLANK! 😊 If you fancy posting a picture of your plank don’t forget to tag me #planktober

Please note that by taking part in this you take part at your own risk and any problems that arise are of your own doing not LA Pilates. If you feel pain at any point please stop and consult a professional at once. Happy #Pilates people.

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