If you want to do your body justice, everyone will tell you, do more planks. Effective, versatile and beneficial for the body and mind, planks will transform the way you see exercising.
Truth be told, planks don’t get the attention they deserve, as many consider them an intense exercise. However, what planks are about are endurance, stamina, energy flow and controlled breathing.
As one of the most beloved exercise, planks are versatile and century-old. Planks provide core strength and enhance the muscles, while also inducing the feel-good factor. Today, let’s get deeper into how revolutionary planks are, and how they benefit your overall health.
Defining ‘The Core’
The core muscles include a series of target areas across the body. Such include the back, abdominal, and pelvic muscles, as well as the secondary body muscles. Primary body muscles include:
- Pelvic floor muscles,
- Transversus abdominis,
- Multifidus, internal and external obliques,
- Rectus abdominis,
- Erector spinae
- The diaphragm.
On the other hand, the secondary muscles include:
- The gluteus maximus,
- Latissimus dorsi,
- Trapezius muscles.
Why Is The Core Important?
The core is extremely valuable to the entire body, as it basically holds it strong. Some of the key traits of the core include:
- Back support. Many people who have a weak core, usually suffer lower back pain and spine issues. With a strong core, however, you will provide the body with full-on support.
- The core muscles keep the body upright and strong. In fact, the core is the main contributor to a proper posture, which helps avoid multiple problems later on. As we age, keeping the posture and core functional, is of key value.
- Any engagement of the torso contributes to an enabled body mobility. And for that, you need a steady core. These activities may be as simple as bending, sitting, standing up and kneeling, and the core makes it all smoother.
- The core allows the upper and lower body parts, which then provides your frame with steadiness and balance.
When doing planks, however, always be mindful not to over-train the core, as it can lead to an overall exhaustion.
The Benefits of Planking
Planks are a simple exercise, which anyone can do, and they do not require any equipment to do it. Planks has many shapes and forms, thus triggering different muscles with the same exercise. Some of its variations activate the abdomen, shoulder, biceps, buttocks, shins, and quadriceps.
Other relevant benefits of planking include:
- A metabolism boost, faster than in with exercises.
- Core definition, from engaging the core muscles at once.
- Proper posture, due to bones and joint alignment when doing a plank.
- Greater flexibility, from stretching all the right muscles, including the shoulders, blades, hamstrings, collarbone, toes, and feet.
- Mood-boosting qualities, due to the level of energy put into the exercise and the increased levels of endorphins.
How to do a Correct Plank?
To ease you into planking, we will share several tips on how to engage into the ideal plank. Make sure your body remains strong at all times, while also taking control of your breaths. Deep and balanced breathing and a plank done right can be highly beneficial, so let’s get to it!
1. Begin lying down on the mat, in a pre-push up posture.
2. Keep the upper and lower body straight and push yourself off the ground on the forearms. Keep elbows in line with the floor by forming a 90-degree angle.
3. Support your lower body on your toes, while also squeezing the butt and leveling the lower back. Take deep breaths and suck in the belly.
4. Engage the abs and push off the ground without losing your frame.
Variations of Planks
Aside from the afore-explained classic plank, there are other versions of the exercise as well. If you are ambitious or more advanced in planking, you can try out any of these variation, without taking the exercise too far. The most common plank variations include:
- Side Star Plank;
- Low Plank Arm Reach;
- Reverse Plank;
- Low Side Plank;
- High Side Plank Knee Tuck;
- Low Side Plank Crunch;
- Extended Plank;
- Confused Plank (forearm or hand, or both);
- Wide Plank.
With planks, technique matters more than time. Therefore, focus on aligning your breath with the body, breathe through the discomfort and harvest all fruits planning has to offer.