Why Does My Body Shake When Doing Planks? 12 Things To Consider
Are you starting to incorporate planks into your fitness routine but finding that your body won’t stay still even when you are using the proper form? It can be frustrating and discouraging, especially if it seems like everyone else can hold a perfect plank without any shaking.
But don’t get down on yourself – it is actually very common for our muscles to shake during planks (and other similar exercises too) and with some understanding of what’s going on in our bodies, we can learn how to handle the shakiness and make sure that the exercise is still effective.
In this blog post, I will explain why our body shakes during planks, plus offer advice on how to manage it so that you continue reaping all the amazing benefits of planking!
Why Does My Body Shake When Doing Planks?
The main reason for your body shaking during plank exercises is a type of muscle contraction fatigue called ‘metabolic fatigue’. This occurs when there is a depletion of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in your muscles and the subsequent accumulation of lactic acid in those same muscles, leading to an inability to contract efficiently or hold static holds. Aside from metabolic fatigue, other factors can contribute to your body shaking during planks. These include inadequate fuel and hydration, over-stimulation of the nerve cells and muscle fibres, central nervous system fatigue (CNS), poor form or technique, high body fat percentages and weak muscles due to the lack of exercise and also from being new to the planks. Make sure you are breathing correctly too, as holding your breath while holding a plank can cause the body to shake in order to compensate for the lack of oxygen.
Shaking when doing planks can make you wonder what is going on, especially if you haven’t experienced it before, so let’s find out why it happens and what you can do to prevent it from happening…
1. Metabolic fatigue
The most likely cause of your body shaking when doing planks is a type of muscle contraction fatigue called ‘metabolic fatigue’. What happens is that as you hold the plank in static positions for extended periods, it depletes the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) stored in your muscles and lactic acid starts to accumulate in those same muscles, leading to an inability to contract efficiently or hold static holds. This will cause your muscles to shake as they try to continue contracting even when there is no fuel left for them.
The way to prevent this from happening is to make sure that you are giving your muscles adequate rest and recovery time between planks, as well as making sure to refuel with the right foods after workouts. Additionally, you want to make sure that you are engaging in proper form and technique during planks so that you don’t overwork any particular muscle group.
2. Static hold
The plank is an exercise which requires you to hold your body in a static position for an extended period of time. This can be quite challenging for beginners, especially if your muscles are weak or you’re not used to the exercise. The lack of mobility and strength can lead to shaking as your body tries to figure out how best to maintain position without straining too much. Holding your body in this position whilst fighting against gravity can also be quite exhausting, leading to more shaking.
To prevent this from happening, it is important to build up your strength and endurance before attempting the plank. Start off with modified versions of the plank such as the wall or bent-knee planking and then slowly progress to full planks once you have built up enough strength.
It is also possible for your body to shake when doing planks due to cramping. This can occur when you are dehydrated or not getting enough electrolytes from food and drinks, leading to a lack of minerals in the muscles. Cramps usually happen during the eccentric movement of a plank – when you lower down towards the floor – as this is when the muscles are put under more tension than during the concentric movement.
To prevent this from happening, make sure you are adequately hydrated throughout your workout and that you take in enough electrolytes to keep your muscles functioning optimally. You should also focus on maintaining good form and technique when doing planks, as incorrect form can lead to cramping.
4. Fuel and hydration is a factor
In addition to metabolic fatigue, inadequate fuel and hydration can also contribute to your body shaking during planks. Eating the right foods before and after your workout will provide your muscles with the energy they need to perform effectively while staying hydrated throughout your workouts will help keep your muscles operating optimally. You should also make sure you are consuming enough electrolytes in order to replenish minerals that may have been lost through sweat or due to being in a static position for extended periods.
For example, consuming a carbohydrate-rich snack before your workout and replenishing electrolytes after will help ensure your muscles have the fuel they need to power through planks without shaking.
5. Nerve cells and muscle fibres
Over-stimulation of the nerve cells and muscle fibres can also cause your body to shake during planks. When our muscles get overworked, they become fatigued which leads to shaking as they struggle to continue contracting without adequate energy or fuel. The nerve cells and muscle fibres can also become stimulated if the position you are in is causing excessive strain, leading to an inability to maintain form and resulting in a shake.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to ensure you warm up properly before beginning your plank routine and that you maintain proper form and technique throughout the exercise. Building up strength and endurance gradually when starting out and taking regular breaks to rest your muscles will also help keep your muscles from overworking.
Related: Why Do I Get Tailbone Pain Doing Sit Ups?
6. Central nervous system fatigue
Central nervous system (CNS) fatigue can also be to blame for shaky planks. This is due to the fact that our CNS needs time to recover between sets, as it is responsible for creating signals that tell our muscles to contract. When the CNS becomes fatigued from overwork, it can no longer send out those signals efficiently, leading to shaking and a decrease in performance. When this happens you will find the body doesn’t always respond the way you intended it to, which can feel quite strange.
To prevent this from happening, it is important to take regular breaks throughout your workout and also to listen to your body when it tells you it needs a rest. This will help ensure that the CNS can recover so that it can send out signals efficiently and keep your muscles functioning optimally during planks.
7. Holding breath
Holding your breath when doing planks can also lead to shaky muscles. This is because holding your breath restricts the amount of oxygen that can reach the muscles and therefore reduces the amount of energy available for them to move and contract. It’s crucial to make sure whatever exercise you are doing, that you are taking regular breaths and that the breath is directed through the nose and out the mouth to keep oxygen flowing to your muscles. You may also find that you naturally hold your breath whenever concentrating on shifting a load or lifting a weight, I know I’m guilty of this at times.
To prevent this from happening, make sure you are taking regular deep and smooth breaths throughout your plank routine by focusing on breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. This will help ensure that your muscles are receiving the oxygen they need to function optimally so that you can complete your planks without shaking.
8. Poor form
Poor form when performing planks can also lead to shaky muscles. This is because if your form isn’t correct and you are not engaging the right muscles, then your body will start to shake as it struggles for stability. To ensure that you have good form, focus on keeping your core engaged throughout the entire exercise and keep your glutes activated.
One thing I’m guilty of is not having the correct form whenever I don’t have a mirror to check myself. This is because I naturally stick my bottom higher in the air than it should be. We all have different body compositions and varying ranges of motion, which means what may feel correct form for one person, may not feel correct form for another.
To ensure that your plank form is correct, practice regularly in front of a mirror so you can make sure you are doing the exercise correctly. You should also get feedback from a qualified fitness professional who can help identify any areas where you need to adjust your form and make sure your body is in the correct position.
9. High body fat
Having a high body fat percentage can also contribute to shaky planks. This is because having a high body fat percentage means that the body is storing more mass, which in turn makes it harder for the muscles to move and contract. This can lead to an inability to hold static holds like planks due to the additional weight being carried by the muscles. Having a higher body fat percentage will also make it more difficult to hold the plank position due to the increased strain on the muscles.
To prevent this from happening, make sure you are engaging in regular exercise and following a healthy diet to reduce your body fat percentage. This will help ensure that your muscles are able to contract efficiently so that you can hold planks without shaking. Additionally, focusing on core and whole-body strength and endurance exercises will help to improve your ability to hold static holds like planks for longer periods of time.
Related: Why do my legs hurt when doing planks?
10. Weak muscles
Having weak muscles can also contribute to shaky planks. This is because weak muscles struggle to contract and relax correctly when performing exercises such as planks and push-ups, which leads to instability and an inability to hold the position without shaking. If you are new to fitness, your muscles will more than likely need time to become accustomed to the new stimulus that is being placed upon them and you simply won’t have the strength to hold your body in plank position. Plus your body won’t be used to any kind of static hold, which will take time.
To prevent this from happening, focus on building your strength by engaging in resistance training exercises. Start with basic bodyweight exercises such as squats and push-ups, then progress to more complex exercises like planks and deadlifts which will help develop the strength needed for static holds like planks. Additionally, make sure you are getting adequate rest between workouts so your muscles can recover from the strain placed on them.
11. Unnatural position
Lastly, some people may be more prone to shaking during planks because they are simply not used to the positions. For example, if you haven’t done planks before or rarely exercise in general then it is likely that your body will struggle with the unnatural positions due to a lack of familiarity. Your muscles and joints need time to adjust to the new stimulus, which can lead to shaking when trying to hold a plank. Our bodies aren’t designed to be in this type of static position and you may shake until your body becomes more comfortable with the movement.
To prevent this from happening, start by engaging in regular exercise. This will help your muscles become accustomed to new positions and movements that are being asked of them. Additionally, focus on building up strength through a combination of exercise and proper nutrition to ensure that your muscles can handle the demands of the plank exercise. Lastly, make sure you are engaging in regular stretching and mobility exercises to help improve your flexibility and range of motion so that it is easier for you to move into plank positions without any problems.
Shaking during planks can be caused by a variety of factors but it’s not something to be worried about. All you need to do is focus on improving your overall strength and fitness levels, as well as proper nutrition and stretching so that your body can handle the demands of the plank exercise. Once you’ve done this, you should find that the shaking stops and you can hold planks without any problems. Good luck!
Do you shake when doing planks and have these tips helped? Let us know in the comments below.