Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: high planks.
There comes a point in most HIIT and strength classes when the trainer will ask everyone to get down into a plank. And while there’s an argument for doing low planks (they’re great for core strength and put less pressure on your wrists), high planks arguable require more full body strength.
Holding a high plank activates the core, shoulders, legs and lower-back muscles. They improve your posture by getting you to retract the shoulders and push from the back, and they force you to relax your neck.
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What is a high plank?
A high plank is the same as a low plank, only with your hands planted on the mat rather than your forearms.
This exercise is great because it:
Increases core strength: holding a high plank activates the oblique muscles, rectus and transverse abdominis (side, superficial and deep core muscles).
They can improve your posture: by pushing through your hands, you naturally start to activate and depress the shoulder girdle – useful for anyone who spends time hunched at a desk.
They’re versatile: nail a static high plank and loads of variations are available to you, including shoulder tap and walking planks.
What muscles are worked in high plank?
It’s a full-body exercise that works:
- Rectus abdominals (superficial core)
- Transverse abdominals (deep core)
- Obliques (side core)
- Trapezius (upper back and neck)
- Rhomboids (mid-upper back)
- Latissimus dorsi (side back)
- Pectorals (chest muscles)
- Biceps and triceps (arms)
- Deltoids (shoulders
How to do high plank
- Begin in a table top position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Engage the core by pulling your belly button to your spine and kick the feet straight back behind you to come into the plank position.
- Ensure your back is flat and your hips aren’t pushing up to the sky or sinking down to the ground.
- Push through the hands by pressing your shoulders back, and keep your neck neutral.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds.
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