Believe it or not, you can get a great workout by acting like a piece of wood!
Plank Pose is a simple enough looking yoga pose, but it packs a powerful punch of plank benefits and challenges. You will likely experience Plank Pose in most standard Vinyasa based yoga classes as it plays a big role within Sun Salutations. The pose is also used as a transitional posture in a variety of ways for many yoga students.
Many people also practice this pose as a stand alone exercise to build and test strength. There's no doubt that you've likely seen many photos and videos of people performing extreme variations of Plank Pose on many different objects. It's common to hear this practice of planks being referred to as "planking".
Kumbhakasana is the Sanskrit name for this posture. The breakdown for the Sanskrit name is as follows, "Kumbhak" meaning "Breath Retention", and "Asana" meaning "Pose". You will find some students and instructors who may refer to Plank Pose as "Top of a Pushup". Of course, this is because Plank Pose comes just before we drop into a regular or yogi pushup. Naturally, the name "Plank" was chosen because your body is held stiff and rigid in the posture, much like a plank of wood.
As mentioned earlier, this pose is a simple posture without complex alignment issues, but it can provide a unique challenge with a multitude of plank benefits.