If You Want to Do Planks, Read This
There is a reason why people do planks. You can do them at home, they need virtually no equipment, and they show results. What is more, you don’t have to wait too long to see results either. What is there to not like?
And the results? They are pretty impressive. Your core muscles are strengthened, your back pain is lessened, your unused muscles are stretched and therefore supple and buzzing with energy, your abs are toned, and your mood is elevated. Your body is stretched and so, no more slouching — a better posture is a benefit for everyone. The plank improves your metabolism, betters coordination and works on virtually every muscle group. Even a short stint can have a huge positive impact on your health.
If you want to do planks, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Planks use bodyweight: Bodyweight exercises are all the rage now and rightly so. Using your bodyweight to achieve peak health is not a revolutionary idea. But we get so caught up in fancy equipment and the like, that we don’t consider what our body is capable of. This is where we go wrong. The plank harnesses bodyweight to give us maximum benefits.
Planks work best on core muscles: Think of the small muscles in the middle of your body, in the stomach and you will see how they are responsible for every action your body undertakes. These core muscles have massive influence — they affect everything including your arms and legs and the muscles there. As a result, the stronger the core muscles, the better it is for the entire body. Not to mention great for your abdominal muscles too. That toned stomach you have always wanted? It is within your reach now.
Planks are great for the butt: The plank is a simple exercise that works very well on the muscles of the butt too. In fact, fitnessgoals.com has a 30 day plank challenge which you can try.
Here is how to do the basic version of the plank
- Get down to the floor as if to do a push-up.
- Your elbows need to be bent to 90 degrees and your weight must be on the arms and on your toes.
- Straighten your body as much as possible so that it is one smooth line from the ankles to the head.
- Your torso must be straight and tight.
- Your head needs to be bent, looking at the floor.
- Right now, your body is raised off the floor with all your support on your arms and your toes.
- It is vital to breathe properly through the exercise, so as not to get tired. Inhale and exhale in a consistent and unhurried manner.
- Tighten your muscles in the stomach, butt and back. Do some kegels if you would like to.
- You will feel strain in your arms and shoulders, but don’t push it too far. Hold the position for as long as you can and then slowly lower yourself to the ground again.
This is the simplest form of the plank. There are variations. You can get more out of it if you raise an arm or a leg. A side plank is good too, as is the plank from a raised surface.
Article by Ashok