Among the simple home workout exercises, plank exercises are great when it comes to maintaining a good-looking torso. Furthermore, planks workout is encouraged by trainers and professionals as a great home workout exercise for anyone. (1) It can be performed in different ways, but the main one includes lying in a press-up position with your weight resting on your elbow, forearm, and toes.
You can also get it done by adjusting the lying position such that the front of your waist forms a bend as your body weight rests on your hands and feet. The plank exercises are also effective in engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
WHY YOU SHOULD DO PLANKS
1. BACK STRENGTHENING THROUGH PLANKS
The plank exercises are quite simple to do and are mostly used to strengthen the core muscles. However, unlike a variety of other core strengthening exercises, the plank workout will ensure that your back remains in good shape. In fact, this exercise builds your upper back.
The other good thing about this exercise is that it doesn’t cause any back strain or unnecessary extension of the spine. Your back remains in its natural position as you do the exercise.
2. CORE STRENGTH
You body is divided into two main parts: the upper (it includes the head and torso section) and lower body. Planks help strengthen core part of the body. This part mainly consists of bones, muscles, and joints that connect both the upper and lowers parts of the body. Considering the fact that we have to engage the core on a daily basis: when turning, reaching out for something, bending, and lifting, it’s health is very critical for our body.
The core muscles of the body that get engaged during a planks workout include the rectus abdominus, the transverse abdominus, the external oblique muscles, and the glutes. (2) A regular workout routine that involves planks will help ease your daily tasks and improve your overall strength.
3. TUMMY FLATTENING
Getting a flat tummy needs a lot of dedication. There are those that will do multiple crunches and sit-ups daily. There are others that will use the ab wheel. All these methods help in flattening the tummy, but they do come with risks of back injury.
Studies show that plank exercise offer a better solution when it comes to working towards that flat and toned stomach. According to an editorial posted in Navy Times, sit-ups are old and outdated because they have been used for years.
In addition to this, crunches can be difficult to perform appropriately. Those that do them wrongly may later develop increased lower back pains due to poor positioning. Furthermore, research shows that a planks workout is likely to activate your six-pack muscles faster than crunches.
4. ENHANCED FLEXIBILITY
The main reason as to why professional trainers encourage people to do functional exercises is because they help the body to remain limber and agile for longer. This is an excellent way to keep the body free from aches, pains, and body injuries that can develop if you are unfit.
The plank exercise is a functional workout. This exercise provides the muscles, tendons, and ligaments with elasticity that make you look a few years younger that you actually are.
When the plank exercise is performed daily together with other simple exercises, you will be able to fully stretch out and expand the muscles located around the limbs, shoulders, shoulder blades, collarbone, and hamstrings. This workout can help you get rid of the strain that comes with extended hours of sitting at an office desk.
5. AN INCREASE IN METABOLISM
Unlike cardiovascular exercises, plank exercises generally enhance core strength, which help build-up a higher metabolic rate even after working out. While cardio exercises will generally help you burn more fat and calories as compared to planks, they don’t affect your metabolic rate that much.
In fact, the minute you stop doing cardiovascular exercises, the metabolic rate returns back to normal. On the other hand, your body continues to burn more calories after doing a plank exercise. This alone shows that planks are an efficient way of burning fat and for increasing metabolism.
6. BETTER BALANCE AND POSTURE
Just like every other exercise, the plank exercise will take you a while to get used to them because they are not that easy. However, after practicing for a specific period, you’ll notice that your core and overall body strength will significantly increase.
The positioning required when doing a plank requires a neutral spine that helps boost body balance and posture, which will in turn help you stand or sit straighter as compared to what you were used to before.
If your office job requires you to sit for long hours, you can easily suffer from postural deficiencies such as posterior pelvic tilt and lordosis. (3) Most of these conditions are caused by abdomen or hip flexor weaknesses that happen due to poor posture. Doing regular planks will help keep both the back and stomach muscles strong enough, giving you the right posture as you perform your daily tasks.
7. IMPROVED BONE AND JOINT HEALTH
An important organ that people tend to forget when keeping fit is bone and joint health. Even though the above organs can be improved through healthy nutrition, it is always good to make sure that you strengthen them during your workouts. You can do this by performing the plank exercise.
This exercise is a good weight-bearing workout because it puts pressure on the bones and causes them to rebuild themselves. Your bone tissues need constant stimulation to remain healthy. You have to get rid of the old bones and allow the body to build new ones so that you can have better muscle movement.
In most cases, the rate at which new bones get replaced by old ones is affected by age. After you reach 30 years, you lose bone tissue faster than you regain new ones. This is why older people tend to be a bit slow. You can do the plank exercise to help you regulate this rate and make sure that you mature well.
8. BETTER MOODS
The good thing about workouts is that they can help uplift your spirits. The plank exercise is not any different because it can help you increase your energy levels. It’s important to take note that prolonged sitting can bring about serious neck, muscle and back pains especially if no exercise and stretching are involved.
The pains negatively affect your attitude and moods. You get tired pretty quickly and can’t wait to leave the office. You wonder whether you are doing something meaningful with your life. You just question everything because you are not feeling okay.
The plank exercise is vital since it helps to keep the brain calm. The exercise works your core section and minimizes the occurrence of pain. In the end, it helps keep stress levels low, leaving you in a better mood.
9. IT MAKES IT EASIER FOR YOU TO COMPLETE DAILY TASKS
The plank is a functional exercise, meaning that it’s meant to help you with the performance of daily activities. The tasks could be walking, sitting, turning, working or even studying. The plank pose lets you bear your body weight, which results in better core strength and overall body functionality.
Unlike other workout routines that tend to focus on specific muscle groups, the plank gives you an all-rounded experience. It works on multiple muscle groups at the same time. This allows you to build muscle in all the important areas. That way, it becomes easier to do most tasks that involve multiple muscle groups.
10. YOU’LL LOVE IT
The good thing about being consistent in dieting and exercise is that the result will encourage you to push yourself further. When you commit to doing the plank at least 4 times a week, you create a formidable spine and strengthen your entire core. The exercise helps to shape your abs and oblique, straighten your back muscles, strengthen your chest, forearm, and glutes.
That means that the exercise helps you to maintain the perfect body shape. You’ll love doing it because it helps to boost your self-esteem. In order, to do the exercise properly, lie in the press up position. Then, bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle while placing your entire weight on the forearms.
You back should be straight throughout. Avoid dropping your head as this could spoil the exercise. Workout your core by pulling you tummy towards the spine and maintain the position for about 10 to 30 seconds. It may be hard at first, but constant practice will make you good at it.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PLANKS
The plank exercise is an efficient way of toughening the body and firming up the core muscles. It’s vital that you practice the pose during your regular gym or home workouts so as to get the best out of your exercise session.