Plank isn’t a word that many people get excited about. Being told to do a plank is enough to make most people cringe. Planks are difficult, they try your willpower and you will grit your teeth and count down every second until it is over, but they work. Planks are one of the best things you can do for your abs. They are a simple core workout, there’s no bending, or pushing, all you have to do is hold a pose, but they can strengthen your entire body. Planks have the ability to build up your shoulders, make your lower back stronger and make those abs more obvious.
Perhaps even better than the results they give is the fact that, you don’t need any fancy equipment to do a plank. All you need is your body-weight and the floor. Increasing the difficulty of a plank is easy too, simply widen your stance and use your hands instead of your elbows. Follow the instructions below to start doing this wonderful core exercise, recommended by fitness experts worldwide, and see the results for yourself.
How To: Plank – VIDEO
Do Your First Plank
Start by getting into a push up style position on the floor, you can use a Pilates, or Yoga mat to add some cushion to harder floors. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle and rest your upper body weight on your forearms. Your elbows and forearms should be positioned directly under your shoulders and your back should be straight, not bowed, allowing your body to form a straight line. Your lower body-weight should be on the tips of your toes and your feet should be side by side. Tighten your core and hold the position for as long as you can, then gently lower yourself back to the floor, relax your core and breathe.
Planks Do More Than Strengthen Your Core
They also do wonders for your lower back, shoulders, arms and glutes. The ability to make all of these muscle groups stronger is what makes doing planks such a great part of any weight lifting, or sports preparation regimen. Even though this is a low impact exercise compared to other core workouts, the intensity is just as high, if not higher than “harder” workouts. You have to keep your abs tightened the entire time in order to hold the pose, many people fail to last even 30 seconds on their first attempt.
Tips to Improve Your Plank Record and See Better Results
The longer you can hold a plank position, the more you are benefiting from it. With each plank you do, your lower back becomes stronger and less susceptible to injuries. These tips will help you increase your plank time; just remember to work yourself up to longer planks gradually. Listen to your body.
Practice, Practice and More Practice
Try to do planks multiple times each day. Space them out over the course of the day and try to hold your position a little longer each time. Even if you only manage to hold the move a second longer, it’s still progress.
Incorporate Other Body-weight Exercises into Your Routine
Various other bodyweight exercises such as push ups and pull ups will help improve your core strength, leading to longer planks.
Do Squats and Dead-lifts
Many people who are proficient at doing squats and deadlifts find that they have little or no trouble doing planks.