The popularity of planking is undeniable, and growing.
That’s because it is one of the most effective, simple, and time-efficient exercise programs you can use to help you control your weight and build a strong, healthy core.
Planking for just 3 minutes every day can deliver 7 visible results every health-conscious person desires.
1. Improve your core definition and your performance
Planks are an ideal exercise to tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes.
Building strength in each of these muscle groups is critical to achieve overall fitness. Each group will deliver tangible results such as:
Transverse abdominis: increases your ability to lift heavier weights.
Rectus adbominis: improves sports performance, particularly jumping. This muscle group is also gives you the famous “six-pack” look.
Oblique muscles: improves your capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting.
- Glutes: supports your back and gives you a strong, shapely booty.
2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column
Planking allows you to build muscle while also ensuring you do not put too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your back, especially the upper back.
3. You boost your overall metabolism
Planking is an excellent way to challenge your entire body.
Doing them every day – for just 3 minutes – burns more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups.
The muscles you strengthen when you plank just 3 minutes a day ensure you burn more energy even when inactive. This is especially important if you spend most of your day in front of a computer.
Also, making it a daily 3-minute home exercise before or after work will provide an enhanced metabolic rate and also ensure your metabolic rate remains high all day long, even while you sleep.
4. You dramatically improve your posture
Planking has a significant impact to improve your posture…and a strong posture includes a huge number of fantastic health benefits.
A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment. This means your bones and joints are better maintained and healthier. It also means you improve the overall performance of your entire muscle groups.
A good posture ensures your spine is in the correct position and decreases back pain.
And best of all, good posture means you look better, healthier, and more confident.
5. You improve your overall balance
Does this sound familiar; try to stand straight on just one foot and hold that position for as long as you can. Do you only last a few seconds?
You can’t blame that (we hope) on too many drinks at the local bar. It’s because your abdominal muscles are not strong enough to give you the balance you need.
Improve your balance with side planks and planks with extensions and you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.
6. You increase and improve your flexibility
Flexibility is one of the key benefits of regular planking.
This exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shoulders, shoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes.
With a side plank added to your routine, you can also work on your oblique muscles.
This gives you further benefits when you hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.
7. You see benefits to your mental health
Planking has a specific effect on our nerves and makes it an excellent way to improve your overall mood.
Planking stretches out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body.
Think about it: you sit in your chair, at home or at work, all day long. Your thigh muscles get tight. Your legs get heavy due to being bent for hours. Tension develops in your shoulders as you slump forward all day.
These all put too much stress on the muscles and nerves.
HOW TO AVOID THE FOUR MOST COMMON PLANKING MISTAKES:
- Arching the Back
Beginners make their first mistake when they arch their backs.
If you do not work the abdominals, you tire your arms as you hold the majority of your weight with them.
This creates a trend for people to arch their back, and this put extreme pressure on the spine.
How to correct this:
Ensure your shoulders are broad and plant your palms widely on the floor.
When you broaden your shoulders, you take weight off your upper body.
Instead, you use the core muscles you need to work.
- Lowering the hips
When your abdominal and arm muscles start to tire out, your hips will usually start to go down. This reduces the effectiveness of the exercise on your core muscle group. In turn this adds strain to your lower back. You don’t want to find yourself in this position.
How to correct this:
Keep your core muscles challenged. It is essential for you to keep your hips raised.
To do this, tuck in your bottom and squeeze your glutes. Keep your feet angled out and away from each other to build a more stable base.
While you contract and work your midsection, take deep breaths.
This helps you hold the position and reap the benefits from your planking.
- Looking up or straight ahead
This can put a strain on the neck, causing the rest of your position to collapse.
How to correct this:
You should look down towards the floor when you plank.
This places your head and neck in alignment with the rest of your body.
- Having your butt too high in the air
New plankers make this mistake all the time. It might be an easier and more comfortable position to be in, but is it not effective for your core.
How to correct this:
Drop your hips and focus on keeping your entire body in a straight line.
If you stop feeling the burn in your core, odds are your hips are too high.
When you make planking part of your workout routine, you can boost your fitness levels in ways you never imagined.
Planks can strengthen your bones and the joints that connect your upper and lower body. This will make it easier for you to lift, reach, turn, and bend.
A study found that doing planks activates 100% of your six-pack muscles. When you plank on a regular basis – even for as little as 3-minutes a day – you will tighten your abdominal muscles and tone other areas of your body.
Planking enhances metabolism and burns fat. For every pound of muscle you gain through planks, your body burns about 50 calories more each day. So, if you add just ten pounds of muscle, your body has the capability to burn about 500 more calories every day.
Create Your Plank Strategy
Ease your way into a regular planking routine.
There are training routines that require as little commitment as 3 minutes a day. Here’s how you can build a fit and healthy lifestyle through planking:
CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO GET A 3 MINUTE PLANK
Begin slowly and choose comfortable positions.
Don’t be hard on yourself in the beginning if you are new to planks. If you find planking to be difficult, practice a more natural variety of the exercise such as a bent-knee plank.
Or start with an incline push-up. This helps you to work the muscles you will need to perform a proper straight-arm plank without excess strain. As you work your way up to holding a plank for two minutes or more, include more demanding variations. The purpose is to allow your body some time to adapt to the exercise.
Regular practice goes a long way.
For best results, plank every day. Space out additional planking routines throughout the day up to 3 or 4 times per day. Try to increase your endurance by holding a position ten seconds longer each time you do it.
Incorporate other bodyweight exercises.
Variety is the spice of life. Combine planking with other bodyweight exercises such as squats to further improve your core strength. These can complement your plank exercises.
Plank exercises are easy to do and provide many health benefits.
To assist you to achieve your maximum results, there are devices available that will help you reap the greatest rewards from your efforts. They make your planking more fun (which will help you avoid the boredom of many exercise routines) and will speed the positive visible results of your efforts (which will motivate you to continue, even increase, your efforts.)
If you aren’t already doing them, don’t delay: start now! Soon you will experience all the health benefits of a strong core and a trim body!