The beauty and simplicity of plank exercises make them stand out. Like many bodyweight exercises, the plank doesn’t require any equipment. You only need your body and a little space. After minutes, you will get many plank exercise benefits.
Though many people do the front plank, some incorporate the reverse plank as another alternate exercise. To do a plank, place your arms wider than shoulder-width apart, lie perpendicular to the ground with your stomach down facing. Then raise your body at the shoulders, brace your core, hold for about 30 seconds, and that’s it. You can use the elbows or forearms for support as you develop your plank exercise routine.
What Is A Plank?
A plank is an all-around workout where you pose with your body straight parallel to the ground and supported by your arms, shoulders, and feet. Sometimes, you can use your forearm or elbows instead of your palms or fist.
It looks like you are doing a pushup, only that when you push up, you hold for about 30 seconds or more when you are up. You can brace your core and take a breath. Then, face front and relax your neck muscles. In the beginning, learning how to do a plank exercise appears strenuous. But as you get more used to it, spend more seconds on the plank to realize more plank exercise benefits.
The plank strengthens many muscles, mainly the abs, biceps, glutes, trapezius, obliques, lower back, and more. The good thing is you only need a few planks daily to enjoy the many plank exercise benefits.
You don’t need any equipment for the plank, and you can do it anywhere since you only need your body weight. You can develop a plank exercise routine at home, outdoors, in the office, or at the gym.
How A Plank Exercise Is Done
Are you wondering how to do plank exercise?
Set yourself into a press-up position with your palms on the ground. Your body should be straight from the head to the toes and your abdomen facing down.
You can use the forearms instead of the palms at the beginning for a forearm plank or the elbows. You can even clasp your fingers too as you use your forearms.
The shorter the plank exercise time, the longer it will take to achieve your exercise goals. Easy-short planks won’t quickly strengthen your muscles, give you a six-pack, or build muscle endurance.
To get maximum plank exercise benefits, perform more enduring planks. But start slowly to avoid injuries.
When using the elbows, ensure to bend them to 90 degrees. As you hold on to the push up-position, tighten your core, chest, and leg muscles, face the floor, relax your head, breath in, and remain there for 30 to 60 seconds. Then, test your muscle endurance before you go down slowly. Engage your core muscles and squeeze your belly button towards the spine for better effect.
It’s beneficial to move to a high plank as you progress. You may test your endurance to achieve strength and muscle endurance by lengthening the plank exercise time.
7 Amazing Benefits Of Doing Plank Exercise For Your Body Every Day
1. Conditions the core and many muscle groups
If you want an exercise that tones your core and other body muscles, then try the plank. The plank works best when combined with other strength and resistance exercises. However, it works your abs muscles, arms, legs, chest, and neck.
You work the back without undue strain, pain, or injury. Whichever variation you choose, whether forearm, side, reverse, front, or high plank, it will be fine for your full-body muscles. Plus, you will get better plank exercise benefits.
2. Planks will improve your posture
Plank exercises strengthen your spinal cord, the abdominal muscles, glutes, trapezius, arm muscles, and rhomboids. You develop a strong-upright posture since your back muscles become strong.
Furthermore, your joints and bones become well-aligned to the muscles making your posture better. With an improved posture, you become confident, raise your self-esteem, and look lean and taller. Additionally, you will avoid injuries since your weight gets better distributed as you move. Your internal organs get better positioned. So, you avoid gastrointestinal issues since all organs are well-positioned to perform their respective roles.
3. Plank workouts help avoid back injury and back pain
When you master how to do plank exercises, you avoid pain and back injuries. Plank exercise routine sets do not stress or put pressure on the back.
Planks strengthen the core muscles. And, while working on the core, you make the back muscles stronger without pressing or tearing them. Also, planks work on the bones and the skeleton muscles, which further benefits your back.
With stronger abs, hips, skeleton, glutes, and arms, your body becomes stable. So, it supports your weight without straining and injuring your lower back.
4. You get better coordination and balance
Research shows that core muscles assist the body in maintaining balance. Planks mainly build the core muscles and other muscle groups. By working them, including your bones and joints, you will coordinate movements.
Unlike other single muscle workouts, planks condition all the muscles, so you remain proportional and better balanced. After learning how to do plank exercise and perfecting the art, you can engage in many sports since you coordinate better. For instance, swimming, running, cycling, athletics, and dancing require perfect and continuous coordination of many muscles.
5. Boosts flexibility
Among the plank exercise benefits is the gradual development in flexibility. Planks help you tone almost all muscles, bones, and joints. That is, as you brace your abs and chest muscles, the head and the neck benefit as well. As you move down for the next plank, the shoulders, arms, hips, and leg muscles get conditioned too. In the process, you stretch and grow the muscles with continued planking.
You will achieve more flexibility and endurance if you vary the planks. I.e., you can do side planks, then the front, then high, rocking plank, front planks, and more to reap more plank exercise benefits and participate in any sports activity easily.
6. Speeds up metabolism
Studies show that following a plank exercise routine burns more calories than many home exercises like squats or sit-ups. Planks help burn more calories even when you are inactive. As a result, the rate of metabolism must increase to cope with increased muscles burning extra calories. You won’t gain weight since the muscles will continuously burn the extra food you eat due to the increased metabolic rate.
7. Mood improvement
Planks stretch several muscle groups that are always tight and strained. Plank exercise time helps reduce mental stress, minimize anxiety, and help manage depression.
Planks give you a better posture, make you flexible, and give you a better look and fewer worries of weight or injury. You gain confidence, self-assurance, and a better mood as the body releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals). Many doctors recommend exercise first before going for medication if you suffer from stress and depression. In such instances, developing a plank exercise routine may be what your doctor will prescribe for a better mindset.
Plank Exercise Tips For Beginners
If you are a beginner, you must start slow with a warm-up and progress with time. A plank exercise for beginners should take 30 seconds or less.
Beginners may start with the forearm plank, which is less strenuous. Ensure to keep your core and chest muscles tight, with your body straight and perpendicular to the ground. Also, when on the plank, relax your head and squeeze your leg muscles to maintain balance and stability. Stop and start the plank again if you experience pain since planks shouldn’t be painful.
Finally, to enjoy plank exercise for beginners, rest between planks, and repeat as necessary.
Guidelines To Plank Exercises For Seniors
Though plank exercises for seniors may sound like a no-go zone, it shouldn’t be so. Seniors can do plank exercise for their overall health. If you are a senior, ensure to hold for 30 to 60 seconds and relax between planks.
These individuals may spread plank exercises for seniors over 2 to 3 sessions. But, they can start with one plank per day and increase this with time.
The bottom line is to ensure your body is as taut as possible when on the plank and brace your abs and chest muscles as required. You can start from the forearm plank and graduate to elbows and palms as you become more comfortable. However, remember to push your endurance a little more to get more plank exercise benefits.
Precautionary Measures To Take While Doing Plank Exercises
Whether doing plank exercises for seniors, as a beginner or an expert, you must take plank precautions to avoid pain and injuries to your muscles and joints. Take note of the following:
- Do warm-ups before any plank to condition the muscles and joints to avoid tears and sprains.
- You must do the plank exercises the right way, especially if you are doing a plank exercise for beginners.
- Don’t overdo or overstretch your body muscles to avoid tears.
- Check the source of any pain you experience since your arms may not support your weight. You may be straining your neck or lower back, putting pressure on your spine.
- Keep your body straight without sagging any body part to prevent injuries to the several muscles you wish to build.
- If you must hold your breath, do it briefly as you need oxygen while doing plank exercises.
- For plank exercises for seniors, start with one or two, and progress slowly or do it in sets.
- Put your arms wider than shoulder-width to maintain stability as you move up on a plank.
- If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor before giving plank exercise time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Planks work on many muscle groups but mainly the core. Planks strengthen your muscles and improve your endurance, coordination, and flexibility. Doing the plank exercise benefits a good posture, stability, balance, and coordination, and avoids back pain and injury. Additionally, you get a better mood, heart health, and improved metabolism.
Yes. As one of the best calorie-burning exercises, planks engage several abdomen and body muscles, burning and reducing belly fat in the process.
You can do plank exercise any time before or after exercise, before or after feeding, as long as you are comfortable with it. Many people prefer doing it after doing exercise and before meals. A plank should take about 25 seconds, more or less, based on your fitness.
You may do a plank workout anywhere, on the floor, near a wall, on a bench, or a chair. Just make sure you plant your hands shoulder-width apart or a bit wider, face forward and proceed to lift your weight, then hold.
Learning how to do plank exercises may renew your health. Plank exercises give several benefits like better posture, flexibility, balance, mood improvement, and boosted metabolism. Moreover, they work on almost all muscle groups, leaving you with a stable and well-balanced body.
To get many plank exercise benefits, ensure you endure the plank a little longer. You may also combine the planks with other resistance training and yoga for full-body muscle training.
Be sure to take safety measures like doing warm-ups, starting slow, and avoiding overdoing the planks. Do listen to body pain to prevent making injuries worse.