I’m sure everyone knows what a plank is. It’s the best way to make a minute seem like an eternity.
The plank is mainly a core focused movement, so if you are experiencing shoulder pain while doing them, it can take away from your ab workout.
Why Do My Shoulders Hurt After Planks?
Most likely your form isn’t perfect, causing too much stress on the shoulder. Your elbow should be right below your shoulder. If you’ve recently suffered a shoulder injury, the plank will definitely cause pain as the shoulders are used in the plank.
You Aren’t Using Proper Plank Form
If you aren’t planking properly, this is probably the main the reason why you are experiencing shoulder pain.
Start by placing your forearms on the ground in front of you with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Your arms should be parallel to your body and shoulder width apart.
It’s important to try to keep your body weight evenly distributed over your arms and legs. Don’t lean too far in front of your arms. This leads to stress on the shoulders.
Keep your neck relaxed and make sure that you aren’t shrugging. This causes a lot of pressure on the neck which leads to shoulder pain. Try to keep the shoulders away from your neck.
Make sure that your back does not drop down during the plank. It should be kept neutral or held slightly above. Do not raise it too high or it will take the tension off of the abs. Make sure to take slow and long deep breaths. If you are breathing fast or holding your breath, you will get tired a lot sooner.
Many people will keep going even if their form starts failing in order to reach a desired time limit. It’s important that you stop the movement if your back or neck are sinking as this will prevent injury.
Note that this is a forearm plank and places considerably less stress on the shoulders. If you are doing planks with your arms straight out and resting on your hands, then the shoulders will be doing a lot more work.
Having difficulties completing a plank for 60 seconds? Try going on your knees with the same plank form instead of on your feet. This will make the movement considerably easier and is recommended for beginners. Practice this until you can complete a normal plank.
Finding planks too easy for you? If you are looking for a challenge, consider raising one leg which increase the engagement of your core. Try to place the elevated leg on top of your other to increase balance.
You can also place weight on top of your back to increase the intensity of the plank.
You Have A Shoulder Injury
If you have an underlying shoulder injury, this can be the cause of your pain while planking. Planks do also work the shoulders so if you have an injury you will feel it.
Shoulder instability is very common and happens if one of the shoulder joints moves out of place. It will usually cause pain if raising the arm and a feeling like the shoulder is slipping out of place.
Shoulder impingements are caused by excessive rubbing of the shoulder muscles against the shoulder blade. Repeated overhead arm movements can be a cause them. Treatments include ice, rest, and physical therapy.
A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments connect muscle to bone. Symptoms include pain, muscle spasms, and swelling. The best treatment is refraining from physical activity and using ice and rest.
Rotator cuff injuries are also common. The rotator cuff is made up of muscles and tendons. Tendinitis, bursitis, and tears are all examples.
Sports, repeadetely lifting the arm above the head, and aging can all lead to rotator cuff injuries. The best treatments are rest, ice or heat, pain medicines, and possibly surgery depending on the severity.
The best cure is always rest and taking time off from activity and the gym. Try icing the shoulder and taking pain medication. If you don’t notice it getting any better or serious pain occurs, it is always best to visit a doctor.
How To Get Better At Planks
Practice makes perfect. The more you do planks, the better that you will get at them. Using proper form as mentioned above will greatly increase your planking ability.
The main muscle group used for planks is your core, so you should consider increasing your core training. Leg raises, ab wheels, and weighted ab machines are all great ways to increase the strength of your abs.
The hip and pelvic area are also part of the core and must be strong to be able to last in the plank position. The hip abduction machine, sumo deadlifts, and crab walks are great ways to improve these muscles.
Trying more challenging plank variations is a great way to increase your plank. Once you try more extreme versions, normal planks won’t seem as challenging. You will also be building your core muscles.
The knee to elbow plank is a great way to up the intensity of your planks. Get into regular plank position and then extend your left knee to the outside of your left elbow. Then do the same with the other leg.
Mountain climbers are a great way to build your core strength while also burning fat. They are found in many HIIT workouts and for good reason. Looking for additional ways to burn stubborn body fat? See here.
Don’t watch the clock when you are planking! This will make you frustrated and staring at a clock while planking will make the seconds take forever.
Listen to some motivating music or get pumped up first. This will help you fight against the pain that you feel while planking.
Proper nutrition is also key. If you aren’t feeding your body protein, then your muscles cannot grow and get stronger. You also need carbs to fuel you through your workouts and keep you holding on in that plank position.
Benefits Of Planks
The plank can be done anywhere without any equipment, all you need is your body. There are many ways to increase and decrease the difficulty of them if you are finding the exercise too difficult or too easy.
Having a strong core will assist you with training almost every single body part in the gym. The core is one of the most important stabilizer muscles. You need a strong core for big compound moves such as the squat, dead lift, and overhead press.
Once you get a stronger core, you will notice all of your other lifts increase.
Many people also strive for the shredded 6 pack look as it is very aesthetically pleasing. Remember that no amount of planks will get your abs to show if there is a layer of fat over them. You will need to eat in a calorie deficit and do cardio to remove the fat so you can see them.
Another great part of doing planks is that it targets the entire core. Many ab workouts will focus on the lower or upper abs or obliques more, but the plank is great for building the entire area.
Planks also help promote good posture by forcing you to distribute your body weight evenly, reduces stress on the spine, and engages neck, shoulder, and back muscles.
Planks are great for building balance as you have to keep your body balanced throughout the exercise.
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