It is often joked that the longest minute is that of a plank exercise. However, since a plank is quite an extensive exercise, the benefits it yields are worth every second of that minute!
When you hold your body straight and parallel to the ground like a plank of wood, you are performing a plank exercise.
To perform a plank, lie on the ground with your feet shoulder-width apart and your elbows aligned with your shoulders. Keeping your body straight, lift your torso up while supporting yourself with your forearms and feet.
The plank exercises the following core muscles:
- Abdominal transversus
- Abdominal muscles
- Oblique internal
- Muscles of the external oblique
There are different variations of the plank exercise, which include the following:
- Front plank
- Front plank with hip extension
- Side plank
- Side plank abduction
What are the Plank Benefits?
Benefit 1: Core Strength
Muscular endurance, or your muscles’ capacity to maintain exercising for an extended period, is greatly improved by the plank exercise. It is a form of isometric exercise, which means that you retain your muscle contraction throughout the entire workout movement. Regular plank practice has been found to increase core strength and stamina.
Benefit 2: Reduced Risk of Injury
Numerous core exercises may result in harm. Sit-ups and crunches can severely strain your neck and lumbar spine, particularly when carried out incorrectly. In contrast, it has been demonstrated that the plank activates the core muscles with less compressive force, which can lessen the risk of injury.
Benefit 3: Lower Risk of Back Pain
Lower back pain and the possibility of back injuries have been demonstrated to decrease with a strong core. Your abdominal muscles help to give structural stability and aid in pelvic mobility by supporting your lumbar spine (lower back). Increasing lumbar spine stability may lessen and possibly eliminate lower back discomfort.
Benefit 4: Better Performance
Your core affects movement during athletic exercise since it is linked to your upper and lower bodies. A strong core is linked to improved running performance, maximum force, upper body rotation, and injury prevention in terms of athletic performance. While additional research is required, it appears that core stabilizing exercises like the plank, when combined with a comprehensive exercise regimen, are the most helpful for enhancing athletic performance.
Benefit 5: Simple & Effective
You don’t need any equipment to perform planks, which offer a full-body workout and develop the muscles in your midsection, upper body, and lower body. Core strength can be increased with two to three workouts each week.
Benefit 6: Working Different Muscles
Planks engage several muscles at once. Contrary to popular belief, the plank exercise engages more than just your abs. In actuality, planks enhance your abdominal, obliques, transverse abdominis, spinal erectors, upper body, quadriceps, and hip flexors.
Benefit 7: Adaptable
Planks can be easily modified to match your needs and fitness level. Changing your technique or adding outside resistance can make it more challenging. To make the workout harder, you may, for example, deliberately “tuck” your tailbone and move your elbows outwards, or you could pack some dumbbells into a backpack and wear it while performing planks. You may always try to hold each set for a longer period of time as well, of course.
Benefit 8: Can Help to Regulate Breathing
As we plank, our breathing gets shallow, and the exercise suddenly becomes a mental game. The wonderful thing is that we may use this to our advantage to improve our breathing. While performing your plank, try to practice diaphragmatic breathing, by following the steps below:
- Step 1: Start your plank by inhaling deeply through your nose while avoiding breathing into your chest.
- Step 2: Keep that pressure for two long seconds while flexing your abs after you are unable to take in any more air through your diaphragm or stomach.
- Step 3: Hold that strain for 2 long seconds while you exhale all of your air via your mouth until the tank feels empty.
- Step 4: Repeat this process 6 to 8 times.
There are so many benefits to reap from just a minute of plank exercise 2-3 times a week! Next time you are due for a plank, think of all the good things you are doing to your body and the duration you have set for your plank will fly by seamlessly.