I love those “all in one” exercises that bring you multiple advantages and doing planks is surely one of them!
In fact, no matter your fitness level, you can easily incorporate them into your workout routine and modify them to suit your needs.
What are planks?
Planks are a form of bodyweight exercise that mainly targets your core muscles. A basic plank is like a pushup but instead of bending your arms up and down, you hold the position with your arms straight for 30 seconds and up.
It is called an isometric exercise and the challenge is to stand still as long as possible.
There are many variants but the regular planks are the basic plank, the elbow plank, the side plank, and the leg raised plank.
Here are 9 great benefits of doing planks daily!
One exercise, several benefits
Planking is a full-body workout that benefits far more than just the abs. Planks activate all your major muscle groups in your body to work together.
When I hold myself properly in the position of a plank, I feel that my neck, arms, and shoulders are being strained and toned as well as my buttocks, legs, and thighs.
Therefore, I workout my entire body and it doesn’t take much time at all. I spend only about 5 minutes daily doing planks.
Planks are Functional exercises
What is even better is that a plank exercise is an example of a functional movement or compound exercise.
By targeting multiple muscles, these functional exercises mimic the ways the body moves day-to-day, consequently, they help maintain mobility and burn more calories.
Read here the related article “why are compound exercises so importan?”
Planks improve your posture
A good posture involves standing straight and tall with the shoulders back and the stomach pulled in.
When done properly, holding a plank position is very similar to standing straight.
By building-up and aligning some of the key muscles (neck, shoulders, chest, abs, and back) responsible for holding you upright, planks help improve and build a proper posture.
Planks boost up your metabolism
As a compound exercise, a plank challenges your entire body. Consequently, you burn more calories and experience a boost in your metabolic rate.
By doing planks every day, I ensure that I consume more energy even when I am sedentary or asleep!
Read here the related article “How to speed up your metabolism naturally?”
Planks strengthen your core
According to a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Physiotherapy, plank exercises can target abs and core as effectively as sit-ups and crunches, the most common abdominal exercises.
In fact, the research found that a 30-day traditional abs challenge and 30-day plank exercises routine both had equal results in waistline reduction.
Planks engage all major core muscle groups (rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, external obliques).
All these abdominal muscles are important! Developing them will keep you from hunching while sitting or standing and improve your performance and balance.
Planks lower the risk of back injuries
Unlike crunches and sit-ups, doing planks conditions your entire body while making sure that you are not putting too much stress on your spine or hips.
Also, strengthening your core guarantees strong support for your whole back. It significantly helps reduce and avoid back pain.
Planks improve your balance
Do you lose your balance very quickly when you try to stand straight on one leg? It’s probably because your abs are not strong enough to give you the stability you need.
I improve my balance each time I do side planks or planks with arm extension because I have to really focus to stay still and not fall over!
Planks help you get more flexible
Do you want to get more flexible? Include the plank pose in your routine! It might not feel like it but this isometric exercise stretches your entire body: from expanding your shoulders, shoulder blades, collarbone to lengthening your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and even your toes.
Hyper-extending your toes is a movement that is essential for sustaining your body’s weight.
Don’t forget to add side planks with arm extension to your routine to stretch out your obliques as well!
Read here the related article “How to get more flexible? Best 6 tips!”
Planks suppress anxiety
I witness an overall mood improvement after my daily planking workout routine. That’s because stretching calms the brain and suppresses anxiety. Planks target those exact muscles and nerves that contribute to stress when sitting all day long at work: shoulders, legs, and back.
Read related article “why is stretching so important?”
How to do a regular high plank?
The goal of a classic plank is to hold your body in a straight line, with your palms and toes touching the ground.
- Lie down with your belly on the floor.
- Get into a pushup position: raise your body on your straight arms and toes, your feet are hip-width apart.
- Keep your body in a straight line head to heels, spine totally straight and tailbone tucked.
- Squeeze your glutes tight.
- Draw in your belly button toward your spine.
- Relax your head and look at the floor.
- Make sure your lower back is not sagging or your butt popping into the air!
- To begin, try to hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Don’t forget to breathe; inhaling and exhaling slowly and steadily.
It’s crucial to have a good form. If you allow your lower back to sag or your glutes to pop into the air, you increase your risk of getting injured, putting stress and tension on joints, tendons, bones, and muscles that are unproperly aligned.
Planking is now one of my favorite workouts and where the plank exercise rise above other abdominal workouts is that this hold position is a dual stretch and strength exercise.
It is an all-encompassing, super-efficient way to work out my whole body, from head to toes.
Plus, it allows me to burn more calories in less time!
What about you? What is your favorite abs exercise? Please share your experience and leave your comment below!!
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