The ‘Plank Body Scan’ Will Make Sure You Engage Every Muscle in Your Body

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Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold
Planking seems easy enough. The exercise requires little more than holding yourself in a stationary position. Pretty cool. But don't let the inspiring woman who held one for more than four hours straight fool you; they're not as easy as they look. And if even one tiny part of your form isn't correct, it throws the whole thing off.

There are a lot of common mistakes people make when planking. According to trainer Meg Takacs, some people strain their neck, some push their hips up way too high, and some keep their feet too close together. It happens—especially when you muscles are already tired from the rest of your workout. The good news is instead of wondering whether you're doing a plank the correct way or not, Takacs has a seven-step checklist you can run down to ensure you get the most out of the move every time.

It will only take a handful of times doing this easy-to-follow body scan for you to have it memorized. And after you do learn how to do a plank like a pro, all I've gotta say is any record-holders better watch out.

How to do a plank in 7 easy steps

  1. Stack your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine.
  3. Keep your hips a little bit higher than you feel like you should.
  4. Push your belly button up toward your spine.
  5. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  6. Make sure your feet are flexed and pushing away from the ground.
  7. Engage your glutes.

This hurts-so-good plank variation works every muscle in your core in one minute flat. Then try the exercise that might be even better for a strong core than a plank.

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