benefits doing planks-a woman doing the plank pose on a yoga mat
Barre Health Lifestyle

This Is Why Doing Planks Is A Great Exercise

I love those “all in one” exercises that bring you multiple advantages and doing planks is undoubtedly one of them! It may be a big surprise to you but yes, this exercise provides many excellent benefits.

The plank position is a great bodyweight exercise that engages not only all the muscles of your core but also your entire body. It is an effective full-body exercise that makes you stronger, makes you more flexible, increases your balance, and much more!

Plus, no matter your fitness level, you can easily incorporate them into your workout routine and modify them to suit your needs.

But, to get the most out of it and prevent any injury, it is essential to engage your core muscles in the proper form.

Medical disclosure: The Fit Yourself Barre content is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of a physician. You should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

Here are 9 top benefits of doing planks daily!

side plank with arm extension
Side plank with arm extension

1. Planking is an “all in one” exercise

Planking is a full-body workout that benefits far more than just the abs. Indeed, planks activate all the 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.

As a result, I workout my entire body and it doesn’t take much time at all. I spend only about 5 minutes daily doing planks.

2. Planks help maintain mobility

Besides, what is even better is that the plank exercise is an example of a compound movement.

By targeting multiple muscles, upper body and lower body, these functional exercises mimic the ways the body moves day-to-day, consequently, they help maintain mobility and burn more calories.

Read the related article “Why are compound exercises so important?”

3. The plank pose improves 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.

4. Planks boost 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 the related article “How to speed up your metabolism naturally?”

5. The plank exercise strengthens 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 a 30-day plank exercise 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.

6. 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.

7. 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!

8. Doing the plank improves your flexibility

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, and 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 extensions to your routine to stretch out your obliques as well!

Read here the related article “How to get more flexible? Best 6 tips!”

9. Planks suppress your anxiety

I witness an overall mood improvement after my daily planking workout routine. That’s because planking provides a good stretch which calms the brain. Planks target those exact muscles and nerves that contribute to stress when sitting all day long at work: shoulders, legs, and back.

Read the related article “Why is stretching so important?”

What are planks?

Planks are a form of bodyweight exercise that mainly targets all 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.

Though there are many plank variations, the most common planks are the basic high plank, the elbow plank, the side plank, and the leg-raised plank.

How to do a regular high plank?

The goal of a classic high 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, and 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 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.

Let’s plank!

Planking is now one of my favorite workouts and where the plank exercise rises 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 toe.

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!!

Also, if you’ve enjoyed this article, why not share or pin it for later?

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8 Comments

  1. Hi, I enjoyed this post – so which plank has the most impact the high or mid one? I think I will start trying to incorporate this into a work out daily for the next few weeks and see how it goes. Really helpful post and will be bookmarking this site for future tips. Thanks

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Hello Dan, high plank targets more the arms and shoulders while low plank gets more core. It is an excellent exercise to incorporate into your workout routine! Thank you for your comment!

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks Anne-Caroline,

    I have been looking for an exercise to replace doing press ups as I developed a sore shoulder on my left side. This looks like a possibility that could take the place of press ups. I had thought of doing sit ups to replace press ups. Sounds like the plank will target several muscle groups and increase my metabolism. A great combination. 

    What I’ve read out there is that as we age strength training is better for us. I’m guessing that planking is an ideal form of exercise for this. 

    Great post!

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Hello Andrew! Thank you for your comment! You are planks may be better for your shoulders and it does target multiple muscles at the same time so that’s an extra bonus to your workout!!

  3. Les says:

    Hi Anne- Caroline

    Thank you for a great article. I enjoy working out regularly and generally include planks as part of my exercise routine.  It may seem like a simple easy exercise to someone who has not done planks before. But I certainly can attest to it being anything but easy. Planks give you a great core workout. I did not realise there was so many other benefits to planking. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I will certainly include more planks in my routine.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Yes Les, planks are an amazing exercise to include in your routine! You may want to read about plié squats too!Ballet Plié Squats Awesome Benefits! Be happy to squat!

  4. Aly says:

    Excellent article about planks — most people I know either love them or really, really hate them. It’s definitely a good exercise and something that anyone can do since no real gear is required to do these at home. I had forgotten that there are a few different ways to do a plank, which should help to keep the exercise interesting and keep challenging different muscle groups. I appreciate the inspiration — I definitely can find ways to sneak a few of these into my day!!

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      That’s right Aly, some people hate planks! and that’s ok. There are exercises I don’t like doing too. Like jump squats… You may be interested in reading my new article about plié squats: Ballet Plié Squats Awesome Benefits! Be happy to squat!

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