For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term plank, let me first give you a definition. Wikipedia defines Plank as “an isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a difficult position for extended periods of time”. Planks are a fantastic exercise when you’re trying to improve your health, and don’t forget about the importance of eating healthy foods.
I was introduced to the plank exercise by fitness guru Jillian Michaels. She finds planks to be widely effective, and that’s why she uses them in her workout videos. She also likes planks because they are considered a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups which give you a big bang for your strength-training buck!
It is important before starting any exercise routine to check with your physician to be sure you can safely begin and to help avoid injuries. Read more on the balancing of age with your fitness goals.
Why Plank Exercise Is Awesome
The plank is one of the best exercises you can do for core conditioning because it builds isometric strength, improves your posture, boosts overall movement and coordination, supports a healthy back, and sculpts your waistline! The other great benefit of plank exercise is that it requires no expensive equipment except for maybe a resistance band, yoga mat, and a set of dumbbells.
Not only does the plank exercise strengthen the abdominal muscles, but with so many varieties to add to your workout routine, you can also get a great workout for your shoulders, arms, back, and glutes.
Plank Exercise Modifications
There are many modifications of the plank exercise. The most familiar plank exercise is the basic Forearm Plank or Elbow Bridge Plank which is held in a push-up position with the body’s weight supported on the forearms, elbows, and toes.
Some variations on the plank exercise include the Side Plank, Straight Arm Plank, Plank Jacks, Side Plank Crunch, Dolphin Plank, Twisting Plank, Side Plank with inner thigh raise, Side Plank Crunch, Plank Rows, and Walking Plank. Click here for 20 ways to do a plank.
Planks Are A Must For Your Workout
Planks can be done safely to strengthen your core – for anyone that has problems with their back including disc issues that prevent you from doing traditional ab crunches; you can do some form of plank exercise because they don’t require bending of the spine. The core muscles include the transversus abdominis (waist cinching muscles), which lays the foundation for creating a stronger, more defined rectus abdominis (six-pack abs).
Planks build your inner core muscles giving you better posture – plank exercise produces an efficient midsection because they work your entire core, which covers the whole trunk from the pelvic region to the shoulder area. When you have good posture, it means that you’re maintaining proper alignment of your bones which facilitates breathing and nervous system function. Not to mention, you will look thinner, taller, and more confident!
Planks give you better movement and coordination – The plank position, and all its variations, train the body to use the abdominals for stabilization. As I get older, I find that maintaining good posture and balance is of particular importance to my overall wellbeing. Plank exercise strengthens your entire core, so your body acts more like a unit, rather than an assembly of individual parts. Plank exercise teaches your body’s muscles to work together, and there are specific plank variations designed to improve your balance.
Planks help strengthen and enhance your back muscles – How many times did your mother tell you to stand up straight? Well, it turns out that good posture helps keep the vertebrae and ligaments of the spine healthy and aligned. Because planks help strengthen the muscles of your abdomen, they support your posture and share in the burden of holding you upright which gives your back muscles a nice break.