If you want to make your core muscles more potent and tone your abs, the plank exercise is an effective and challenging workout that can help you achieve your fitness goals. Not only does the plank target your abs, but it also works your back, shoulders, glutes, and legs. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of the plank exercise, how to do it correctly, and why it’s such a powerful core workout.
What is a Plank Exercise?
The bodyweight exercise known as the plank involves holding a position that resembles a push-up place for a specified amount of time. The difference between a push-up and a plank is that, in a plank, you maintain a straight body position, engaging your core muscles to maintain stability throughout your body.
Several plank exercise variations include the twisting plank exercise, wall plank exercise, side plank exercise, and plank twist exercise. Each variation targets different muscle groups but requires core strength to maintain proper form. Let’s see some brief knowledge about these exercises.
Twisting Plank Exercise
The twisting plank exercise is a challenging variation that adds more difficulty to the standard plank. To perform this exercise, start in a normal position with your forearms on the floor and your elbows in a plank position with your body in a straight line.
After then, turn your body to the left and extend your left arm upward., holding for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
Twist to the right and raise your right arm as you repeat on the opposite side. This exercise targets the obliques, or side muscles of the core, as well as the shoulders, chest, and upper back.
Wall Plank Exercise
The wall plank exercise is a modification of the standard plank that can be easier on the wrists and shoulders, making it a good alternative for those with wrist or shoulder pain.
To perform this exercise, start by putting your hands on the wall while facing it at shoulder height. Slowly retrace your steps until your body is in a straight line. And you are in a plank position.
Keep your body in this position for a short while. The core, shoulders, chest, and upper back are the muscles targeted by this exercise, similar to the regular plank.
Plank Twist Exercise
The plank twist exercise is another challenging variation that targets the obliques and adds a cardio component. To perform this exercise, start in a standard Holding a straight-legged plank position with your forearms on the ground.
Next, turn your body to the left while bringing your left knee up to your right elbow. Repeat on the other side, then return to the beginning position, turning right and bringing your right knee towards your left elbow.
Continue switching sides for a certain number of times or repetitions. This exercise targets the core, obliques, and hip flexors and improves balance and coordination.
Benefits of Plank Exercise
The plank exercise is a simple yet challenging workout that offers numerous benefits to your body. Here are some of the key benefits of doing plank exercises:
- Improves Core Strength: Plank exercise effectively enhances your core strength, essential for maintaining good posture and preventing back pain.
- Increases Flexibility: Plank exercise improves flexibility by stretching and elongating your muscles, particularly your hamstrings, shoulders, and collarbone.
- Boosts Metabolism: Plank exercise helps increase your metabolism, enabling you to consume fewer calories overall.
- Enhances Balance and Coordination: Plank exercise requires you to maintain proper form, which helps to improve your balance and coordination.
- Reduces the Risk of Injury: Plank exercise strengthens your core muscles, which can help reduce the risk of injury while performing other exercises or daily activities.
How to Do Plank Exercise Correctly?
To perform the plank exercise correctly, follow these steps:
- Begin by doing a push-up with your hands right beneath your shoulders. And your toes on the floor.
- Engage your core muscles and maintain a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds or longer, depending on your fitness level.
- Remember to breathe in and out slowly and evenly throughout the exercise.
- Repeat for 3-4 sets.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
To get the most out of your plank exercise, make sure to avoid these common mistakes:
- Arching Your Back: Keep your back straight and avoid arching it, which can strain your lower back.
- Dropping Your Hips: Keep your hips level with your shoulders and avoid falling them toward the ground.
- Raising Your Butt: Avoid raising your butt higher than your shoulders, which can cause strain on your lower back.
- Looking Down: Keep your head in line with your spine and avoid looking down, which can cause strain on your neck.
- Holding Your Breath: Remember to breathe slowly and evenly throughout the exercise.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is the plank exercise suitable for beginners?
The plank exercise can be modified to suit different fitness levels, making it suitable for beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts.
- How long should I hold a plank?
It’s recommended to start by holding the plank for 30 seconds and gradually increase the time as your core strength improves.
- Can the plank exercise be done every day?
Yes, the plank exercise can be done daily, but it’s essential to give your muscles time to recover between workouts to avoid overtraining.
- Can the plank exercise help with back pain?
Yes, the plank exercise can help improve core strength, which can help prevent and alleviate back pain.
- How can I increase the difficulty of the plank exercise??
You can make the plank exercise more challenging by trying different variations, such as side planks or reverse planks, or by adding leg lifts, arm raises, or other modifications to increase the intensity of the exercise.
The plank exercise is a powerful core workout that can help improve your strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. By following the correct form and avoiding common mistakes, you can maximize the benefits of the plank exercise and achieve your fitness goals. Incorporate the plank exercise into your workout routine, and you’ll be on your way to a stronger, more toned core in no time.
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