Number 1 Ultimate Guide To
Planks Exercise And It Benefits
Fitness is globally recognized for the amazing benefits it offers both to the physical body and to our internal systems as well
Exercising has gone beyond jogging, skipping and weight lift, more advanced exercises structured for a specific region of the body have been discovered over the years.
Fitness coaches are experimenting with different types of general body exercise that can help their individuals attain a healthy and well fitted body.
What are planks?
Plank (abdominal bridge) is a bodyweight and core strengthening exercise that involves holding the body in a push up manner for a given period of time.
A body weight exercise is a strength enhancing exercise that helps maintain the body shape by making use of the individual body’s weight in order to keep balance against gravitational law).
Core strengthening exercises help in the building, strengthening of the muscles in the hips, back, pelvis, and abdomen in other to maintain body stability and balance.
Importance of bodyweight exercises
Bodyweight exercises are required for overall body stability, balance, and strength.
Examples of bodyweight exercise include; planks, push-ups, burpees, pull up, walking, running, jogging, squats, reverse lunges, leg raises, skater hops.
- It’s a full body workout that helps to make the body more flexible.
- The cost effectiveness of bodyweight exercises is really convenient for people who do not have money to spend on gym equipment.
- Bodyweight exercises help to burn calories faster through the repetitions of several cardio exercises.
- It builds up muscular and cardiovascular endurance and helps to maintain balance.
- It strengthens the body and helps to prevent injuries.
Importance of core strengthening exercises.
Core exercises helps to build strong core muscles. Strong Core muscles provide more balance and stability during exercise.
Core exercises include; planks, sit up, Dead bug, body saw, leg raise, crunches.
The protection of a lot of internal organs is also a function of the core muscles hence, they need proper training to effectively protect and support the fragile internal structures.
They also provide support to the back and the spinal cord.
How to perform a basic plank?
Good alignment and form are essential when planking. Ensure your form is balanced and stable to avoid pain and injury.
Use the following steps to perform a stable plank,
- Knee down on the floor or on a mat.
- Place your hands on the floor or mat, make sure your hands are directly underneath your shoulders.
- Lift your knees off the floor and support your body weight on your toes.
- Your hands should be spread out to provide a supportive base.
- Make sure your body is in a straight line, hold this position for 30secs(beginners).
Muscles involved in plank exercises
There are different plank exercises and a lot of muscles are targeted during planking. They include;
- Internal and external oblique
- Transversus abdominis
- Erector spine
- Muscles of the back
- Rectus abdominis
- Muscles of the shoulder
Types of planks
There exist different forms of planks ranging from the easier ones for beginners to a more advanced one.
Basic or classic plank
Place your knees on the floor and put your hands on the floor directly under your shoulder.
Spreads your fingers in order to make a stable form, lift your knees off the ground, and support your weight with your toes.
Hold the position for 30secs(beginners).
This is almost the same with the basic plan, the difference is in the inclusion of the knee.
In the basic plank, the body weight is supported by the toes and hands but in a knee plank, you keep your knees to the floor.
This is basically for beginners who cannot hold their weight with just their hands and toes.
Forearm plank (low plank)
This is just like the basic plank but here you use your elbows and not your hands to create a stable base
Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulder to your heel.
Start with your side, place your right forearm on the floor and lift the body off the ground.
Hold your body weight with your right forearm and side of your right foot. Repeat with the opposite side.
Begin with the basic plank, use your toes to push yourself forward, then move backward.
Continue in a slow and steady manner.
Start with a forearm plank, slowly stretch out the other forearm in front of you.
This is basically jumping jack and plank. Start with the standard plank then slowly move your feet into an open and close position.
This begins with a classic plank, then slowly glide your feet on the floor or mat like a windscreen wiper, make sure you keep your body in a straight line.
Side plank leg raise
Begin with a side plank, then slowly lift one leg up.
Slide plank crunch
Begin with a forearm plank then slowly spread your feet as far as it can go.
Plank push up
Begin with a forearm plank but place your palms to the floor and slowly raise yourself up like the normal push up.
Other plank variations include;
- Plank walk down
- Side to side plank
- Plank crunch
- Side plank knee to elbow
- One arm plank
What are the benefits of planking every day?
The benefits of planks cannot be overemphasized, it is a healthy routine that should be included in our daily body workout.
Planks target muscles of the abdomen, back, shoulders, forearms. It helps in strengthening these muscles, provide stability and balance to the body.
Bad posture can be traced to back pain or abnormal curvature of the spine.
Planks help in the alignment of the spine to its normal position hence providing a good posture.
Good posture prevents the occurrence of certain diseases such as osteoarthritis, back pain.
Plank is a bodyweight exercise, a bodyweight exercise is a full body workout.
The different types of planks help you to engage a different part of your body.
Though plank is a full body workout, studies have shown that planking is more efficient when combined with other strength training and bodyweight exercises.
Planking stretches certain targeted muscles in the body such as the muscles of the back.
The stretch leads to growth and increased flexibility.
Most of the muscles affected by planking contribute to stress.
The release of Endorphins during exercise and the stretching of these muscles play a vital role in relieving stress.
How long should a beginner hold a plank?
New to planking? Then you should consider starting off with fewer seconds before progressing to a minute.
Start with 10 seconds plank then rest and repeat the process.
Progress to 30 seconds when you can comfortably hold a plank for over 20 seconds without falling.
Monitor your process and proceed to 60secs.
Precautions while planking
- It is important that you tighten your core while planking.
- Don’t sag your hips
- Avoid holding your breath
- Avoid planking for too long
- Stop planking if you feel pain in your neck or lower back.
- As a beginner hold planks for only a few secs before progressing.
Does planking help to get a flat stomach?
Planks help to burn out belly fat, it also helps to strengthen and build the rectus abdominis muscle which is responsible for abs development.
Are planks bad for your back?
Wrong form and alignment during planking can affect the spine and lead to back pain.
Holding a plank for a long time can also lead to back pain.
Don’t slouch your back or sag your shoulders while planking to avoid back pain.