A benchmark in workouts, planking is a rigid exercise wherein the position needs to be maintained to achieve the gains – it’s a single movement packed with many benefits! Learn more about planking and discover how you can optimise the execution for bigger and better benefits!
The Basic Plank
A basic plank should be performed with good balance, coordination, and body alignment. To start, find a floor with a considerable amount of space where you can move. You can use a mat to protect your elbows, as well as other parts of your body, from scrapes and other potential injuries.
Lie down facing the floor and prop yourself up using your forearm, elbows, and the balls of your feet as support. Keep your back straight and squeeze in your core. Remain on this position and feel the burn.
If you’re a beginner, you should find a 30-second plank adequate for your needs, while a veteran should manage a 5-minute routine.
Don’t strain yourself if you’re struggling – a plank seems easy but it actually takes some time to master.
Benefits of Planking
As planking is a compound exercise, it targets many prominent muscle groups such as the abdominals, shoulders, glutes, back, and the whole core.
Remember that keeping the core strong will help your body become more accustomed to other workouts and this makes you proficient. More than reaching and stretching deep and stiff muscles, a strong core also gives a great resistance against injuries, not only during workouts but also during daily activities.
You can achieve these benefits without the help of any bulky equipment. Instead, you’ll only need the floor and an optional mat which you can find almost anywhere.
As it’s also a physically taxing exercise, planking can also benefit your mental health – your inner drive is tested when you attempt to maintain the position for a decent amount of time.
Variations of Planking
Doing the plank can be monotonous if it’s done repeatedly, so keep it varied and try out some new techniques that won’t just add flair, they will also bring new benefits!
Single Arm Plank
For a single arm plank, begin with a basic position then gradually raise your left arm and straighten it as much as possible. Be careful not to sway or dip your other body parts. Bring your left arm back and switch to your right arm.
Single Leg Plank
Just like the single arm plank, begin with a standard position then slowly lift your left leg, making sure that your body remains straight. Repeat with the other leg.
Lie on your right side with the corresponding arm tucked under. Take a breath and lift yourself up using your arm, which should be bent. Raise yourself until you make a straight line from your elbows to your ankles.
Instead of facing the floor, face the ceiling with your arms and toes in a standard position. Keep your back straight as you lift yourself up.
Do a standard plank position. Take a moment, then jump your feet apart like you’re doing a jumping jack. Return to the original position. Do this routine for at least 15 to 20 repetitions.
Stability Ball Plank
For this one, you’ll need a stability ball. First kneel on the floor and rest your forearms on the ball, then slowly push forward to extend your legs.
As you do the plank, you can add light weights or hold a dumbbell while keeping your arms straight – you could even wear a weighted vest.
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