We all want the benefits of a full workout, the toned abs, heightened flexibility, speedy metabolism, reduced the risk of injury, improve our balance, and decrease stress. We start off motivated, going to the gym every day for a week, working out, lifting weights, until we are too sore to open the car door to drive home. It feels great until we realize we have no time in our lives to spend hours at the gym every day.
Enter planks. This simple exercise challenge gives all the incredible benefits of a workout, and you can do them anytime, anywhere, any way you like! Find the combination of the positions that make you feel the burn and start doing them for ten minutes a day.
7 Reasons to Start Doing Planks Workout Every Day
Improve Body Posture
Our lifestyle is very conducive to slouching. (Bet you are slouching right now!) Planking regularly will develop a straight and stable posture. The abdominal muscles that are being engaged are vital for the position of the back, neck, chest, and shoulders.
Enhance Core Definition and Performance
This exercise strengthens the core muscles, thereby building your body in the following ways:
- Oblique Muscles – This will increase the capacity for side-bending and waist-twisting.
- Glutes – Results are strong and toned buttocks.
- Transverse Abdominis – This enhances the ability to lift heavy weights.
- Rectus Abdominous – Improves jumping and leads to defined abs.
A planking regime causes your metabolism to burn more energy and maintains a high metabolic rate through the day.
While you plank, you stretch and expand your shoulder blades, collarbone, shoulders, arches, toes, and hamstrings. Side planks also work the oblique muscles while stretching the toes, which helps support your body weight.
Improve Overall Balance
Side planks, in particular, enhance the body’s balancing capabilities, as well as the general abilities in all exercise types.
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Lower Risk of Back and Spine Injury
Planks strengthen the muscles significantly without placing too much pressure on the hips and spine. Therefore, you also relieve pain and cramps while supporting the entire back.
This position also influences your mood and nerves, by stretching the muscles that contribute to tension and stress. This relaxes the brain and is very beneficial in cases of anxiety and depression. (1)
Do It Right!
If you want to achieve all these great benefits, remember to avoid these common mistakes.
- Allow your hips, head, or shoulders to drop
- Place your hands too close together, causing internal rotation and instability at your shoulder joint
- Hold your breath
- Try to hold the position too long – it is better to maintain correct form for a shorter period than to hold an improper position for longer. (2)
Planking is a simple exercise that uses your strength to support your body weight. Nothing can seem simpler, even if it is a physically challenging exercise. Start according to your level and work your way up. The noticeable results will keep you motivated to continue planking.
21 Day Plank Exercise Challenge
Days 1-2: Start with one set of 30 second planks
Days 3-7: Practice two sets of 30 second planks (try one in the morning, and one before bed). If you can move up to 60 seconds during this point, even better!
Days 8-10: Increase to two sets of at least 60 second planks every day. Focus on keeping your form correct- it’s easy to get sloppy at this point, resist the temptation!
Days 11-15: Try some variations! Practice some moving planks (Start with both forearms supporting you, then raise yourself up to balancing on your hands- starting with your right hand first, then your left, then lower yourself back to your forearms. Keep reversing the order and don’t quit until that 60-second timer)
Days 16-18: Push yourself to see how far you can last. Aim for 90 seconds, than 120 and so on (but keep paying attention to your form. Don’t let that butt start floating too high!)
Days 19-21: Shake things up. Do a plank variation in the morning and a regular plank in the evening- try to beat your personal best!
(1) Healthy Food House. 7 Things That Will Happen When You Start Doing Planks Every Day. http://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/7-things-will-happen-start-planks-every-day/ August 20, 2016. Accessed: September 13, 2016
(2) Dr Mercola. 5 Benefits of Doing Plank Exercise. http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/12/05/5-plank-benefits.aspx December 5, 2014. Accessed: September 13, 2016
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