A few weeks ago, I asked Andy Wight, my personal trainer, how to do a crunch and he surprised me by saying he didn’t recommend crunches. Planks are better, he said. This week, he goes a step further and shows us the right way to do a plank because apparently, a lot of people do them wrong.

Andy Wight doing planks

Plank 1 The hips are too high. Positioning your hips too high places more stress on the shouldera than the midsection. Plank 2 The hips are  too low. With the hips being so low, there is an increased arch in the lower back, which places  lot of unwanted stress on the area. Plank 3 The Goldilocks Zone. The elbows are under the shoulders and there is a straight line from the ears to the ankles.

Andy said that once you’ve mastered the position, you should add movement. Like he does in this short video, for instance.

Plank Shifts are a progression forward from just a plank. Adding movement at the shoulder not only increases the demand for stabilization through the midsection but also works on shoulder mobility and control at the same time.

You could also do this move. It’s called a stability ball rollout. I can guarantee it works! Two days later and I’m still feeling it in my abs. A good thing!

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Stability ball roll outs (SB rollouts) are a favorite anti-extension exercise. It forces the midsection to stay engaged and resist the tendency to arch the lower back while the arms are extended overhead.

If you want to know why Andy prefers planks over crunches, check out my blog post Why Andy thinks crunches are not the best exercise for your abs.

Catching Health fitness posts are sponsored by Spectrum Healthcare Partners.