When it comes to workouts, the simple moves that you make can be of immense benefit to your physical fitness, and this is the same with planks. To some people, doing planks can look easy although that is not always the case. When doing a plank, you are supposed to hold your body (the trunk portion) off the ground, ensuring that you hold it in a straight line. Planks help in strengthening your abs, core, and back and also improve endurance.
Other than core conditioning, plank also works your glutes as well as your hamstrings and supports a proper posture plus improves balance. You can try as many variations as you can to work out different areas of your body.
What are the Main Plank Workout Benefits?
1. Well Toned Belly
Doing planks helps improve the inner muscles of your core by making them stronger and evenly toned. It tightens your mid-section as your abdominal muscles become stronger. However, to get an evenly toned belly, you must burn fat stacked in your belly if you are a man, you should work towards shedding around 6% of your body fat, while for women it is around 9%. Although this may sound unnecessarily healthy, it’s for a good course towards the “six pack” belly look.
2. Eases Back Pain
With planks, it is a sure way of easing your back pain as it strengthens your core. The muscles of your back are also made firm especially those located in the upper segment. This is in reference to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
3. Improves Flexibility
Other than improving your strength, the flexibility in your posterior muscle groups improves with planks. These include muscles on your collarbone, shoulders, and those around your shoulders. They extend and stretch while your hamstrings and arches of your toes and feet become more flexible. Plus, side planks also stretch out your sides especially when you extend your arm up over your head. Note that this should be in line with your body. If you would like to reap more stretching benefits, use a rocking plank by moving your toes a few inches on either side.
4. Boosts Your Mood
Basically, every form of exercise has psychological benefits. Exercising promotes the production of “feel good” hormones which improve your mood, and planking is not an exception. One of the unique features with planks is that they stretch your muscle groups that usually become stiff and tense if you remain seated for longer hours. Planks release this tension that gives an uplifted spirit once your muscle groups become relaxed.
5. Improves Posture And Balance
If done the right way, planks engage your abs giving a straight posture. If you want to improve your balance, do side planks or use a stability ball. You can easily test and strengthen your balance by simply doing a side plank with a leg raise. When into a side plank position, raise your leg and hold on for a moment. Lower it back and raise it up for several times. This works all the muscles you require in maintaining a proper posture especially on your back, abs, chest, shoulders and neck.
What are the Steps To Do Plank Workout?
- Ensure that your elbows are directly under your shoulder. Then, place your wrist such that it is in line with your elbows.
- Push your body up into your upper back while holding your chin next to your chin near your neck.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles as if you are expecting a blow on your stomach. Contract your tailbone and thigh muscles at the same time as you breathe normally.
- Hold a plank for around 25 seconds and rest for a minute before resuming a couple more times.
- Use your elbows and toes to start a plank before moving to a high plank once you gain the necessary strength.
What are the Plank Variations?
As previously stated, there are various plank variations that targets different sets of muscles for toning and strengthening. To target and upper and lower body segments, do the front-facing plank variations. Side planks targets your obliques, which stabilizes your spine while the reverse planks mostly focuses on your glutes, abs, hamstring and lower back.
What are the Common Plank Mistakes To Avoid?
Planks if done the wrong way can cause pain or injury. It is, therefore, important to avoid some mistakes like:
- Suddenly dropping your hips, head or shoulders
- Putting your hands too close to each other causing internal rotation and instability particularly to your shoulder joint.
- Unusual breathing
- Holding on the plank position for a lengthy duration.
Planks if done the right way can be beneficial in strengthening different groups of muscles as you as well as improve their endurance. You should try a number of plank variations to target as many muscle groups as possible. Although it may be challenging in the initial stages, with time, planking becomes an easier task that is more fun, enjoyable and beneficial to your overall wellbeing. Start planks today and you will come to like the results!