Sometimes the simplest form of exercise can result in the greatest gains to our body and that is certainly the case with planks. The plank is one of the simplest exercises that you can do yet carries so many health benefits. Yes, holding one pose every day can improve your strength, physique, mood, and more? That’s right!
The all-powerful plank has tons of benefits for our body, and all you need to practice is do it every day. Although it may not always be easy, it’s sure to provide you with health benefits that can last you a lifetime. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Here’s the catch simple does not mean that doing a plank is easy. The plank certainly does look deceptively simple to do but can be challenging on the first try. However, once you get the hang of it, you can hold a plank up to even 7 minutes!
To help you understand planks better, we have gathered everything you need about this almighty exercise. From the right technique to benefits we’ve got you covered. A heads up tho, an easy 10 seconds planks aren’t the type that is going to provide you with much strength improvement.
- What Is A Plank?
- How To Hold A Plank?
- What Are The Benefits of Doing A Plank?
- 2. Plank Can Help Reduce Back Pain
- Why You Should Do Plank Every Day?
What Is A Plank?
The classic plank or known as Phalakasana in yoga is a strength training pose that works all our major abdominal muscles. It can also strengthen the shoulder, glute and back muscles. Planks are pretty similar to push-up poses without actually moving your body.
The pose can be held for several seconds to several minutes or be used as an intermissive pose in yoga and many dances to connect two other parts of the routine. The plank is used as part of the training regimen for professional athletes because it strengthens muscle.
How To Hold A Plank?
There are many variations to planks like classic planks, side planks and such but the main idea of the plank exercise is to lift your body perpendicular from the ground while your stomach is facing down.
The right way to do the classic plank is:
- Firstly you need to get down on a yoga mat with your forearms on the mat.
- Position your shoulders directly above your elbow. Align your forearms, elbows and shoulders to form a 90° angle.
- Anchoring with your forearms and tucking the top of your feet in, gently lift your body.
- Keep your head facing the exercise mat, and keep your body in a straight line.
- Hold the pose for as long as you are comfortable with.
Usually, several seconds on the first try and gradually work up to a few minutes in the subsequent days. Avoid overexerting yourself and only hold the pose for as long as you are comfortable with it. Anything from 30 seconds – 5 minutes of this exercise a day is more than adequate.
What Are The Benefits of Doing A Plank?
The best part of the plank is that it is such a versatile exercise. Most people think that planks are only to build core muscles yes it does but they can do more for our bodies, aside from strengthening our core.
Like we mentioned earlier, plank engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Now, let’s look a little more in-depth at some of the amazing health benefits you will start noticing in yourself once you start doing planks on a regular basis.
1. Plank Helps to Builds Up Our Core Strength
Doing planks regularly can build the deep inner abdominal core muscles that lay the groundwork for a tight six-pack tummy. As your abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section will be tighter. Tighter it gets, to more visible are your packs.
Apart from strengthening the core, the plank also strengthens the surrounding muscles like the rectus abdominis muscle which improve sports performance and jumping ability. The oblique muscles that build the waist and the glutes.
However, can you get a six-pack just by doing a plank, NO! In order to really get “six-pack”, you must first shed some fat. For men about 6 percent of fat needs to go out and women around 9 percent, in order to achieve that classic six-pack.
2. Plank Can Help Reduce Back Pain
Planks are great for people who are suffering from back pain issues or who don’t want to encourage the onset of chronic pain conditions like osteoarthritis. This is because planks strengthen the skeletal system and allow the body to better compose itself.
As your skeletal muscles become stronger, the body can then realign the vertebrae and arrange the ligaments in the back properly. Plus, the plank also can take off the unnecessary stress in the spinal region which further prevents painful back conditions.
Also, planking doesn’t just inhibit back pain but enhances the health of the back as a whole. Having a body that properly maintains and composes itself means that you’ll be less at risk of developing back pain, and can likely offset the onset of pain in old age.
3. Plank Can Help Improve Metabolism
Another incredible benefit to go along with those more defined muscles is that planks can help increase the body’s muscle mass. Having high muscle mass boosts your resting metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories, even when you’re sleeping!
This makes planks the best workout especially for people who spend the majority of their day at the office in front of the computer and aren’t very active as planks strengthen massive muscle groups in your body.
So, just take 1-2 minute of your time before or after work to hold a plank. It will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high throughout the day even while you are doing nothing!
4. Plank Can Help Burn More Calories
An additional benefit of the increased metabolism through planking is that your body will be burning more calories. In fact, planking can help burn 2-5 for every minute which means you are burning more calories than other abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups.
The muscles you strengthen by doing a plank every day will ensure that you burn more energy. So, your body is constantly burning more energy, and in turn, it burns more fats stored in the body and turns it into muscle.
5. Planks Can Make You More Flexible.
Unlike many exercises that mainly focus on strengthening the muscle, planks encourage your body to manifest stability as a whole. So, by adding planks to your regular exercise routine you don’t just build core strength but make your posterior muscle more flexible.
The posterior muscles are the group of muscles in the back of your body like shoulders and collarbone. Regular planking will stretch these muscles and make them strong. Planks also stretch the leg muscles like hamstrings, toes and feet.
Try combining planking with other flexibility building exercises like yoga and dancing. The benefits become more pronounced. Overall, planking can significantly improve your balance and coordination.
6. Plank Can Help Relieve Stress
Doing plank every day can release a neurochemical substance in the brain called endorphins, which are known to decrease feelings of stress. So, you see plank can have a positive effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood.
Another additional benefit of planks is that they can also treat symptoms of depression and strain. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension that cause your body strain and make you strong enough to handle it!
Why You Should Do Plank Every Day?
With some many rewards to the body, plank should be a must in your exercise routine. However, it’s important that you take caution before jumping into a plank routine. Like any other exercises, excessively done or improper execution can lead to some unpleasant issues.
So, remember quality always beats quantity. Take it slow and just enjoy yourself. With time, you will grow stronger and steadier. Don’t hold your breath while planking and if you feel any pain, particularly in your neck or lower back, drop from your plank position immediately!
In conclusion, with some precautions taken and properly executed, you will more likely enjoy the benefits of doing planks instead of being in danger. Hopefully, you will quickly get into adding planks to your routine and enjoy all its amazing benefits!