The plank pose is a common yoga posture that is used as a transition in most sun salutations. Since this pose requires quite a lot of strength and stability it can feel challenging for beginners.
In this blog we’ll be exploring a series of yoga poses you can practice to work on improving your technique in the plank pose.
Want to be guided through a progressive yoga practice building up to the plank pose? Practice along with my plank pose for beginners YouTube video.
How to do the plank pose and practice variations
The following sequence of five yoga poses is helpful to learn the foundations of the plank pose with variations suitable for beginners.
(1) Child’s Pose
Practicing the child’s pose with your arms active is a great preparation for the plank pose. You can focus on spreading your fingers wide, grounding through your palms and keeping your elbows lifted.
Stay here for around 5 – 10 slow and steady breaths.
(2) One Legged Plank Pose
The one legged plank pose is a great way to prepare your body for the plank pose without having to bring too much weight into your arms. You can start in a table position with both arms active and your belly firm.
Extend one leg out behind you and focus on pressing the ball of your foot down and activating throughout the entire leg. After around 5 breaths you can release and switch to the other leg.
(3) Table Top with Knees Hovering
Coming to a table top position and allowing both of your knees to hover will help you really engage your belly. Press into your hands, lift up out from your shoulders as you lift your knees to hover.
If staying 5 breaths with the knees hovering is too much, you could alternate lifting the knees up and dropping them back down several times. Slowly working on building your strength and technique in the posture.
(4) Downward Facing Dog Pose
Downward facing dog pose is a great final preparation before the plank. You can focus on engaging your arms, keeping the palms of your hands and particularly your index fingers and thumbs heavy.
You could start pausing a few breaths in downward facing dog. Afterwards you can play with shifting your weight forward for one breath in plank and then drawing the weight back into your legs for downward dog. So taking your time ease in and out of your downward dog and plank pose.
(5) Plank Pose
Finally we can start working on the plank pose. We’ve set up our foundation, with heavy hands, shoulders lifting up, a firm abdomen and active legs.
You can build up gradually to staying here for 5 breaths, dropping the knees down to the ground if and when you need.
How often should you practice the plank to see results?
Remember that like with anything, it can take time to get comfortable in a challenging yoga posture. If you find after practicing the plank pose you have wrist pain or other discomforts, try practicing the some of the earlier postures instead.
If you’re able to practice the preparation plank variations and the plank pose 2-3 times a week you should start to notice your technique and breath capacity in the plank pose improving. Helping you to find more ease and enjoyment in your practice.
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