If you think that planking is easy, it is time to think again. Planks are trendy, and athletes like them for their brilliant effect on their core.
The best part about planking is the fact it needs no equipment. You can do it everywhere! It targets several muscle groups and assists the body in different ways. In this article we give you some of the greatest things you will get if you do planks every day.
- Strong corePlanks do wonders for your core. It works the muscles, bones and joints in your abdomen.Your core keeps you moving, helping you lift, run and bend. Do planks to strengthen your core as it is the most important part of the body.Holding your body in the plank position means engaging your core muscles – the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. This will help you do your daily activities without a problem.
- Toned bellyCrunches are not as efficient as you think. A recent article in Navy Times notes that sit-ups are “an outdated exercise today viewed as a key cause of lower back injuries.”Planks are the thing you need. A study released in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning revealed that planks activate abs with a 100% efficiency. Crunches provide 64% activation of these muscles.
Planks strengthen the abdomen, and you will love that toned belly.
- Strong backSome core exercises can damage your core and hurt your back. Unlike these workouts, planks strengthen your back.To do a plank you have to maintain your body in a straight line. Experts at the American Council on Exercise (ACE) have the perfect explanation. “…Because the plank exercise requires minimal movement while contracting all layers of the abdominal fascia, it is an excellent way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low-back pain”.
- Better metabolism and fat burnDo not lure yourself into thinking that a quick plank will do the job. However, planks are more efficient when it comes to burning fat. Strength training boosts the metabolic rate after the session. This is not the case of cardiovascular activity.For every pound of healthy muscle mass you get, you “lose” 50 calories more every day.
- Better flexibility and low risk of injuryDo exercises that increase your flexibility and make you vital. Planking offsets the age-related loss of elasticity of your muscles, tendons and ligaments. This is really important for those work in offices.Planks boost and maintain your flexibility by stretching the muscles in your shoulders, collarbone, shoulder blades, hamstrings, and feet.
Side planks are great, too, as they stretch out the oblique muscles, especially if you bring your arm up over your head in a straight line with the body.
- Strong bones and jointsBe physically active to strengthen your bones and joints. Weight-bearing exercises are important for your health, while stimulating your bones to restructure themselves. That’s what makes planks efficient.
- Improved posture and balanceRegular planking improves body posture.Your core muscles will be stronger, and the same applies to your back muscles. Planks have the power to prevent or even reverse postural deficiencies such as lordosis and posterior pelvic tilt caused by weakness int he abdominal area or hip flexors.
Side planks and planks with extensions create perfect balance.
- Daily activities are carried with easeWhen it comes to functional exercises, planks are the ultimate trend. That’s why Navy personnel have replaced sit-ups in the Navy’s physical-readiness test with planks.Do planks properly, and you will do your daily activities with ease. Planks engage every muscle group at once.
Planking helps you lose fat, build strong muscles, be more flexible and improve the structure of your bones. You will be mobile and balanced. Shopping will never be easier!
- No Stress!Planks improve your mood. Office work can make you frustrated, and planks will lift your spirits. Planking stretch and relax the muscles in your neck, shoulders and back.According to the Yoga Journal, planks can reduce stress as they calm the brain.
A recent scientific study has shown that strength training is great for those dealing with depression. Weight-bearing exercises improve mood. Strong core makes you feel strong, remember that.
- Your new addictionOnce you try planking, you will never go back again. This is one of the healthiest addictions you will ever have.
It is like challenging yourself every day. you can spice up your workout with jumping jacks or crunches. Add stability balls, weights and resistance bands for optimal effect.
How to do it?
Hold your body in the press up position. Bend your arms at the elbows and rest your total body weight on the forearms.
Keep your body in straight line. Do not drop your hips, head and shoulders to the ground.
Suck in your belly to engage the core.
Try to hold your body in this position for 15-60 seconds depending on your stamina. Keep in mind that it is better if you keep your body in a proper form for 15 seconds than to hold it in an improper form for a minute.
Rest for a minute, and do 3-5 reps.
Check out the following video if you are a beginner. This is what a basic plank looks like, plus you will get some handy solutions to common problems.
You can find so many variations, but two of these are referred to as the ultimate.
- Side plank – It targets oblique muscles which balance the spine and pelvis. This is of utmost importance for the strength of your spine
- Reverse plank – This variation tones and builds strong gluteal muscles, hamstrings, abs and lower back. It is also great for your upper body.
Once you master the variations, you can try the straight arm plank, side plank with crunch, plank with an arm/leg lift, planks with ‘jumping jacks,’ running plank, rocking plank, dolphin plank or plank supported by stability ball or resistance bands.
Caution: Follow the right instructions to prevent injuries. Focus on the proper technique, and consult a physician in case you deal with specific health problems. The same applies to those dealing with joint or back issues.