The Right Way

3 Forearm Plank Mistakes You Should Nix From Your Practice, Stat

If you deal with achey, sensitive wrists, you may have decided long ago that planks simply aren't for you. But don't shut down the core workout just yet: If you still want to feel the full body burn of plank pose, dropping down to your forearms is a great way to protect your wrists—so long as you avoid a few common forearm plank mistakes.

"Forearm planks are amazing at building shoulder and postural muscle strength, really challenging our core, while also taking any unwanted weight out of the wrists," says Brian Spencer of East River Pilates on this week's episode of The Right Way. You'll also feel this full-body exercise in your legs, glutes, and chest... but not in those wrists.

Like traditional plank pose, mastering the forearm plank is a bit of an art—and Spencer wants you to be wary of a few faux pas.

Mistake #1: Dropping the head down

Instead, keep the back of your head in line with your spine. You'll know you've got the right position if you're looking just a bit in front of you toward the top of your mat.

Mistake #2: Sagging in the shoulders

Fix this by pressing the forearms down into the ground to lift up between the shoulder blades. Also, be sure you're not leaning too far forward or back: Your shoulders should be lined up right over your elbows.

Mistake #3: Letting the hips go wonky

Rather than tucking or arching your lower back, keep it in neutral—you should feel the low abs fire up to get your body into the proper position of one long line from head to toe.

All of these tiny tweaks will keep your body safe as you strengthen your core. Once you've worked through the most common forearm plank pose mistakes, you're ready to do the whole thing the right way. Make sure to watch the full video to achieve perfect forearm plank form (and save those wrists in the process). Then, you're ready for wherever your yoga, Pilates, or strength training workout takes you.

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