Plank - one of the most famous fitness exercises recommended by trainers around the world. Why? The well-known endurance exercise is done with your own weight, and in addition to the abdominal, it includes 20 other muscles such as the shoulders, arms, back, and legs, and you determine your own pace and training time.
The simple plank exercises can significantly help you to get in shape. With it, you will lose fat deposits around your waist in a short time, tone your body and look firm and fit.
If you've been to a yoga or fitness class, you've probably performed the popular plank or endurance position at least once. It is a simple exercise that you perform on the floor by relying only on your palms (or forearms) and feet while your whole body is straight.
Plank differs from ordinary abs exercises in that it does not strain the spine, so you will not have back pain after performing it. You do not need the help of an instructor to complete the plank.
With a few basic instructions on body position, you can easily practice this exercise and its many variants at home - alone and at your own pace.
And it will only take you 5 minutes every day.
Of course, be persistent and exercise regularly - the results will be visible very quickly.
Why Is The Plank Exercise Useful
Strengthens all abdominal muscles, biceps and thighs
Builds a sense of balance and stability
Helps better posture
Strengthens the neck muscles and chest
Strengthens the muscles of the buttocks
Reduces possible back pain
Reduces the risk of spinal injuries
It Burns more calories than abs
Calms the mind, reduces anxiety and symptoms of depression
Let's talk in detail about the benefits for the back, legs, and abs.
Benefits For The Back
Back pain affects most people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. The back is a vulnerable place for both professional athletes and ordinary gym visitors. The main reason for this is the weak core muscles. The benefits of the plank exercise are strengthening the muscle groups responsible for stabilizing our body.
During the plank, large back muscles are worked out: the rectus, the widest, and the lower back and neck muscles. This symmetrical load on the abdominal muscles and back makes the posture correct and the abdomen taut. By performing plank exercises regularly, you can get rid of back pain, notice progress in strength exercises, and minimize the possibility of spinal injuries. The back bar will prevent osteochondrosis.
However, be careful: exercise can be harmful if you have spine problems. Violation of the technique can even lead to back injuries.
Benefits Of Plank For The Legs
Almost all leg muscles work during the plank. In various types of exercises, the gluteus maximus and gluteus maximus muscles are in great tension, the thigh and leaf muscles work.
Performing the plank regularly makes you notice that the leg muscles are strengthened and tightened, the buttocks become tighter, and the legs are slender. The plank has another positive effect on the butt - reducing cellulite due to improved blood microcirculation in this area. When starting an exercise, you should take into account the incredible tension that falls on your legs.
Although the classic plank is performed in a static position and gently acts on the joints, in some cases, such as ankle problems, exercise can be harmful.
Weight Loss Benefits Of Plank
Great news for those who want to lose weight. By doing a plank, you can lose those extra pounds faster. As you know, the effect of weight loss is achieved in the case of calorie deficit. That is, you need to expend more energy than you ingest with food.
By combining proper diet and exercise with the plank, you will significantly speed up your metabolism, which will lead to weight loss. The advantage of weight loss is that regular exercise tightens the skin and makes it more elastic.
Plank Strengthens Your Core
The plank position is an exercise that primarily strengthens your core. The term "core" means the "abs" on the abdomen and the deep muscles of the central part of the body.
The role of these muscles is to stabilize your pelvis and lumbar spine. A strong core also greatly helps better connect your limbs with the central part of the body.
Once you strengthen your core with the help of a plank, each form of exercise will be easier for you, and you will also be more endurable and agile.
A strong core also means a much lower risk of spinal injuries.
Plank Improves Posture And Flexibility
As it strengthens the muscles of the abdomen, neck, and chest muscles, this position will also help you improve your posture. So, your spine will be upright, and you will not "collapse" in the lumbar back, whether you are sitting or standing.
Upright posture and strong abdominal muscles are crucial not only for maintaining the health of the spine but also for the vitality of all your internal organs.
Performing a plank will also increase your flexibility, especially the back muscles, better known as hamstrings.
A 5-minute Plank Challenge That You Can Perform At Home
If you are a complete beginner, you can first practice the plank with your knees on the floor and stay in each position for 10 seconds.
Over time, stretch your legs and slowly extend your stay in position to 30 seconds to 1 minute.
If you want to intensify your exercise further, simply alternately raise your arm or leg and keep it in the air. Breathe slowly and evenly.
Full Or High Plank (1 Minute)
How to perform: first, get down on all fours, then stretch your knees so that you are leaning only on your palms, which are just below your shoulders, and on the tips of your toes.
The feet can be hip-width apart. Keep your spine straight and tuck your abdomen in.
Be careful not to "collapse" in the lumbar spine, as this could cause back pain later. The neck is precisely in the extension of the spine, and the gaze is directed towards the floor.
A harder option for better balance: you can also perform the plank by alternately lifting your left and right hand off the floor and touching the shoulder of the opposite hand with it.
You can also intensify the exercise by tapping the opposite shoulder a dozen times and then repeat by tapping the opposite shoulder with the other hand.
Low Plank (1 Minute)
How to perform: in the plank position, lower yourself to your forearms and activate your abdomen and buttocks muscles. The whole legs should be firm and the entire body completely straight. Push the heels back.
This position is an excellent option for those who have sore wrists.
Plank With Leg Lift (30 Seconds For Each Leg)
How it is performed: in the plank position, alternately raise one leg after the other. In this position, make sure your buttocks and abdomen are tight.
You can perform this variant by raising the leg in both high and low plank.
Side Plank (30 Seconds Each Side)
How it is performed: from the plank position, turn sideways to rely only on the forearm that is extended in front of you and on the outside of the lower foot. You can first lean on your left forearm and place your right palm on your side. Stay on each side for about 30 seconds. Be careful not to "fall" on the side. Therefore, activate the abdominal muscles well!
This position in yoga is called vashistasana, but in this case, you are leaning on your palm and not on your forearm, and your opposite hand is outstretched into the air, which further builds a sense of balance.
The position of the lateral plank, in addition to strengthening the abdominal muscles, also strengthens your spine.
Inverted Plank (up To 1 Minute)
How to perform: This position, also known in yoga as purvottanasana, is performed by sitting on a mat with slightly bent knees. Place your hands behind your back on the floor with your fingers facing forward. Slowly lift your torso and thighs off the floor.
Activate the gluteus and abdominal muscles. Your legs are fully extended, and you rely only on your feet and palms. Look up. The neck is long.
This position stretches the entire front of the body very nicely.
Common Mistakes In Performing The Plank Exercise
The most common mistake when performing this exercise is to bend your back. This error occurs due to underdeveloped back muscles or due to ignorance of how to perform this exercise properly.
If your knees are bent during exercise, it affects the general position of your hips, which in turn can cause uncomfortable sensations during exercise.
If the head is not placed correctly, pain in the cervical spine can occur. The neck should be almost flush with the spine.
When doing a classic plank, the palms should be at shoulder level. The same rule applies when performing a plank on the elbows. Improper arm placement is very common among those who have recently started performing it.
How To Stay In Plank Longer
The longer you can stay in your posture, the lower back becomes less susceptible to injury, and abs will appear due to a reduction in body fat above it. To do this, you need to perform plank exercises correctly, so follow these tips to extend your exercise time and strengthen your muscles.
Exercise: Hold the plank several times a day, trying to hold it a little longer each time.
Exercise with bodyweight: push-ups and pull-ups will strengthen your muscles.
Squats and deadlifts: Those who are pretty strong in these exercises have no problems with the plank.
Hang On You'll Get There!
If your core muscles are still too weak for a standard plank, you can support yourself on your knees. Move on to advanced options when you can easily stand in the plank for more than two minutes.
Raise one leg. Simply lifting one leg off the floor increases the load on the core, forcing it to resist the body's natural rotation.
Raise one hand. Likewise, your body will want to roll over to one side. Fight.
Take an exercise ball. By resting your forearms or toes on the exercise ball, you will need to stabilize your body while preventing the ball from rolling.
Want To Beat The Record?
Daniel Scali recently created a record by staying in plank position for hours - precisely 9 hours, 30 minutes, and 1 second.
They say it is real luck for beginners if they last up to 10 seconds in the plank position, so this record really looks impressive! However, do not exaggerate, but adapt the plank to your needs and fitness level.
Those who have tried doing the plank every day say, although it is quite difficult to endure, it leads to quick results, which, if nothing else, motivate and show that exercise really pays off.
Don't be lazy, let plank be just one of the activities you will carry out, but let it also be one that will remind you that there is no excuse for not exercising because you can do it at home every day without any necessary equipment!