Are Planks Bad For Your Back?

First, let's be clear. We're not talking about planks of the heavy wooden kind. Carrying one of those incorrectly would certainly be bad for your back. We're talking about the plank pose, a held posture often performed while doing yoga. And when you think of yoga, you likely think of health and fitness. 

So how could any yoga position be bad for you?

Before we discuss the plank pose specifically, let's do a little dive into the definition of yoga. Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India and has been around for over 5,000 years. It is a philosophy based on the mind-body connection and combines breathing, body movements, and meditation (via Google Arts & Culture). 

Plank pose is a fundamental posture in yoga, and so, chances are you will move through it during your practice. One of the reasons is because plank is often part of yoga flow sequences. It is both a position in itself and a segue between poses. It builds strength in different areas of your body, especially your core, which includes your abs, hips — and lower back (via Self).

Getting "back" to basics

Lower back pain is a prevalent health issue that, according to Healthline, at least 80 percent of Americans will experience in their lifetime. The good news is that performing plank pose can strengthen the muscles that provide support for your back (via India Times). However, according to NBC News, if you do the posture incorrectly, it can actually harm your lower back. And that's the last thing you want.

But not to worry, yogis. We've got your back!

Some potential adjustments to help you correct your plank form and avoid injuries include: shortening the amount of time you stay in the pose; making sure that your lower back is not sagging; keeping your abs contracted; and tightening those glutes (via Independent). These adjustments will not only protect your lower back, but will provide you with all the health benefits that the plank has to offer.

This sounds like a lot to keep track of, but just stay present and mindful while in plank pose — and you'll be in great shape.