When it comes to workouts, there are many stories doing the rounds. One of the common misconceptions is that loads of equipment, lots of weights and fancy gear is necessary to see results in your exercise routine.
The plank disproves it all. It’s a simple exercise – hold your body in a straight line with the upper body off the ground. There are many variations – the simplest is where you lie on your stomach, body brace on your elbows and arms flat on the ground and the top of your body raised up. For variation, you can lift the whole body off the ground, or raise the legs one at a time. You can use a bench to rest your lower body, with the upper body at a lower level on the ground. In each variation, remember that the body needs to be aligned and straight. It sounds simple enough but the plank has huge advantages for anyone who wants to use it.
- Strengthens your core – because of the way the exercise is, planks require a lot of strength and stamina in the back, the core and stomach muscles. Along the way, it works on your gluteal muscles and hamstrings as well. It hits different parts of the body all at once.
- Helps with back ailments – the plank works on the core and to reduce back pain as well. This happens because back muscles are strengthened, being able to better handle pain. The plank does not require fast or intense movements either and yet works on the abdomen. The side plank is good to train your obliques and this helps steady your spine. This helps lower any backache issues a person might have, especially a lower back pain.
- Creates good posture and balance – the very nature of an effective plank demands great posture. Only then are your abs engaged. In fact, if you do a variation, like a side plank, you’ll see even more benefits. While it works on your core muscles it also helps with all of the body. This includes the upper body as well. People who’ve used the plank regularly see an improvement in the way they stand and sit.
- Tones abs – planks really get down to the deepest core of the abdomen. The simple principle is when your abdominal muscles get strong, they get tight. Even if you’re not really into the whole 6 pack look, a toned belly is a good thing.
- Improves elasticity of body – the plank involves a complete stretch. Think about what this does to your body – your shoulders and collarbone will stretch and elasticize, creating a more flexible body.
- Elevates your mood – all exercise elevates mood, but the plank is pretty simple. A simple exercise with huge benefits is bound to make a person happy. Besides, the plank helps not only to strength but also to relax stiff, underused muscles. When this happens, you end up feeling happier than before.
Each plank variation gives you a specific benefit. Think about what you need from your exercise and pursue that. Make sure to engage all muscles and to keep a straight position. The website fitnessgoals.com has a 30 day plank challenge which you can take part in to make it more interesting.