Feeling sluggish and stagnant?
Want to build core strength and improve posture?
Need to dump the drowsiness and kickstart your day?
Fire up in Plank Pose
Plank Pose is full-body pose that strengthens and tones the core muscles of the body - abs, chest and low back. At the same time it also strengthens the arms, wrists, and shoulders, and muscles around the spine.
A foundational pose appropriate for beginner yogis, it is one of the positions in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence (Try our kids Sun Dance here). By practicing plank, we build the strength for advanced arm balances and inversions. When held for 30 seconds or more, plank can build tremendous inner fire while growing our capacity to breathe, focus and remain mentally calm through challenges.
Practice Plank Pose with young children by pretending to be a stick, lizard, or a fire truck. Add sound effects, tell animal trivia or sing a song to encourage kids to linger in this pose for maximum benefits.
How To: Plank Pose
Start on hands and knees in tabletop, wrists underneath shoulders and knees below hips
Spread fingers, pressing pads of fingertips and backs of knuckles into the floor
Widen the shoulder blades while maintaining broad chest
Lengthen crown of head forward and tailbone back
Tuck toes under and step feet back, bringing your body and head into one straight line
Firm the abdomen and keep the hips in alignment, neither sinking or popping upward
Engage the thighs and lift the backs of the knees toward the ceiling
Reach back through heels and forward through the crown of the head
Move through plank as part of sun salutation or breathe and remain in the pose for up to 5 minutes to build strength and stamina
Tips for Mastering Plank Pose with Children:
If you are new to plank, build strength by practicing a modified half-plank variation. Lower your knees down to the floor behind your hips, maintaining a straight line from knees to hips to crown.
Press down through thumb and index finger, making sure hands do not roll open toward your pinky fingers
Draw shoulder blades away from one another and down the back to create space in the upper back, neck and shoulders
Gaze toward the floor in front of you to ensure the neck remains aligned with the rest of the spine
Kids Yoga Video: Try Plank Pose with us!
Practice plank pose and side plank along with Rachel. Make your body into a long fire truck and sound your siren! Then, turn onto one side to take out your hose and put out the fire. Make sure to do both sides before taking a rest in child’s pose.
If you find your kids love using plank pose to transform into a fire truck, try these top travel and transportation themed yoga poses for kids next!
Kid-friendly Variations for Plank Pose:
Challenge your core strength by bending one knee to hover an inch off the floor while keeping the rest of the body in alignment. Switch, bending the opposite knee toward the floor…but don’t tap it down - just hover! Run your plank by bending one knee and then the other, while maintaining steady breathing. Imagine you are a cheetah, gazelle or other fast animal.
Once you feel super stable in your plank, deepen the pose by lifting one leg up at a time while keeping the leg straight and the rest of your plank steady and strong. Kick it up another notch by extending the opposite arm forward while lifting the leg!
Walk your hands toward your feet and then back out into plank to make a caterpillar. Combine with forward fold to turn into a chrysalis and then fly into Warrior 3 once you transform into a butterfly!
Plank Partner Poses:
Partnering up for plank variations can add a bit of fun to physically challenging pose. Children will practice longer, building stamina while also learning teamwork, emotional intelligence and communication skills.
To begin, make sure everyone knows how to exit partner poses safely. Have an easy code work like “down” that partners can use to indicate they need to come out.
Try building a wall by stacking planks, feet on shoulders and hands holding ankles. You might even be able to stack a third plank depending on the age, size and stamina of the children.
Take turns in wheelbarrow, walking planks around the room to build tremendous upper body strength.
While we definitely have lots of fun practicing plank, building upper body and core strength also supports important foundations for learning. Usually weakness in a child’s fine motor skills (writing, drawing, controlling scissors, manipulating small objects, etc) can be tied to their postural control, trunk strength and stability, upper extremity alignment, as well as shoulder strength and stability.
Happy planking everyone!
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Help other educators and caregivers learn the benefits of Plank Pose - and share it with your kids!