Plank Pose: 5 Common Misalignments

4 min read

The first step to deepening your yoga practice is to build a stronger understanding of foundational asanas. Plank is a tough pose that requires full body engagement, but it can also teach you so much about your habitual posture, as many of your misalignments stem from that.

You can start by observing your body to see if you are misaligned. Then, begin applying a few tools to your practice.

It can be difficult to understand what you are doing when practicing yoga alone. This is why I enjoy working with a partner. If that’s not possible, you can film yourself. It’s not to criticize or to judge but to create a stronger mind-body connection.

It is easier to change and shift our behavior when we have a clear picture of ourselves.

Here are five common Plank Misalignments and how to correct them. In no time, your Plank will become stronger.

Lazy Hands

I start by laying the foundation. Incorrectly aligned or lazily held hands can cause a painful reaction that travels up the arms and shoulders. Many shoulder injuries are the result of this.

Realign thRealigntop. As you align the hands, make sure they are at shoulder distance apart and that the middle finger is facing forward. Turning your index fingers inward will protect tight shoulders and wrists.

Spread your fingers out and root through the metacarpals, the bony knuckles located at the base of each finger. Pay special attention to the knuckle of your index finger. This one should be pressed firmly onto the mat. Press your toes firmly into the mat and then lift yourself into Plank Pose when you feel stable and strong.

Keep your hands firmly grounded into the mat to provide a strong base for the Plank Pose. Strong foundations are the key to a powerful asana.

Scrunched-Up Neck

You may need a massage on your neck after yoga because you have been overusing your pectorals or trapezius while carrying weight with your arms. This can be caused by the “internal rotating” of your arms.

Start realigning in Table Top to protrealigningeck while allowing it to grow through Plank Pose. Bring your shoulders over the wrists. Hug your forearms and hands in toward the midline. Imagine hugging a piece of wood between your forearms. This should activate the area you desire.

Spread your shoulder blades across your back and hug in the biceps. Once you feel solid, try lifting into a Plank Pose. You will feel the difference.

As they are all “counter-actions,” you should practice them with equal intensity. If you practice one too much, it can throw you off your balance.

Press firmly through the knuckles on your fingers and practice with equal force.

Jelly Belly

Lack of core engagement can lead to saggy hips or even piked ones. It can also cause fatigue and, in some cases, injury in the lower back. This is what I call a “jelly stomach,” and it can be a powerful fix for Plank Pose.

Table Top is the first position. Exhale and draw the navel and ribs in. You will feel the core engage and help you stay supported in Plank.

Try the movement again and notice the difference. This is only the first half of a core workout.

Leg Power

The second part of the core exercise is to engage your core. Your legs are an important part of a good Plank and also support your core.

Draw the navel towards the spine in Plank Pose and lift the inner thighs at the same time. Imagine that you are able to pull your hands towards the feet and then the feet towards the hands. It’s tough but very effective! You need to feel as if you can pull your hands up and down your legs. This will give you the strength and stability you require for a strong Plank.

Short Plank

This misalignment could have a domino effect. If you have your hands and your feet too close together, your shoulders may extend past your wrists, and it won’t be easy to engage your legs.

Start in Plank Pose. Step your feet back so that your heels are over the balls. Imagine a powerful, long line of energy running from your crown all the way to your heels.

You can now put all your corrections to practice. If Plank feels harder than before, that’s a good thing! This means you are doing it correctly.

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