If you aren’t into doing the plank exercise, or you have never really tried it, you are going to want to start doing it by the end of this post.
I have come across a lot of people that do not like to do planks. My husband always hates when I make him do them with me.
He hates them because he isn’t flexible, and this exercise also stretches some of your muscles. We will get into that more later.
But many other people I think have one of two problems with the plank exercise.
1. They either don’t understand everything that it can do for them.
2. They might not be performing the exercise correctly.
We are going to fix those two issues here. This will get you on your way to loving planks and to the body you want.
What Muscles Does a Plank Exercise Work
When performing a plank, you might not feel all of the muscles that it is working. Surprisingly, it targets a lot of your muscles.
The primary focus of the plank exercise is to target your core muscles, being your abdominal muscles.
That means it tones and flattens your stomach.
But it doesn’t just stop at your core muscles. It also works your quadriceps in your legs, your deltoids in your upper arms, and your glutes.
All of which makes this a great lower body exercise. And if you are looking to work on you lower body, try this Lower Body Workout.
Benefits Of The Plank Exercise
I personally love planks. It is a great confidence booster when you can hold it longer than you used to and to know and feel how strong you are getting. It’s a great feeling.
But there are more benefits to the plank exercise than just that. Surprising benefits.
So, let’s check them out.
1. The plank exercise can increase your flexibility.
While holding the plank position, it lengthens your hamstrings and the arches in your feet.
If you are not a flexible person, this exercise will take a little getting used to, but if will help you become more flexible.
2. Planks improves your posture.
This is a great exercise for those who work at a desk all day. The plank position strengthens your spine, which helps your posture.
3. The plank exercise relieves back pain.
This goes along with the improved posture but is important to not separately because you really can see a big difference.
When you improve your posture, it helps align your vertebrae. This takes stress off the spinal region and helps position the ligaments in your back properly, preventing painful back conditions.
4. Planks can give you better coordination.
As I mentioned, the plank helps to strengthen your muscles. Stronger muscles are more stable, which improves your coordination.
5. You burn more calories from a plank exercise.
If you are looking to lose weight, this is a huge plus. It has been shown when you do the plank exercise daily, as opposed to other core exercises, it burns more calories.
And because it strengthens massive muscle groups, you burn more calories, even when you’re at rest.
6. Planks improve your mood.
This one might sound a little strange, but it really does help your mood.
When you think about the muscles that the plank exercise targets, they are also muscles that tend to be frequently strained or knotted.
This causes stress. By working them, it helps relieve knots and keep them from becoming strained.
How To Do The Basic Plank Exercise
Start by laying on the floor as if you are going to do a push up.
Place your forearms on the ground, about shoulder-width apart.
Your feet should be together, with your toes touching the ground.
Push up on your forearms and toes to rise into the plank position, keeping your body in a straight line. Don’t let your hips or your butt rise.
Be sure to keep your core tight as you hold the plank position.
And don’t forget to breath.
Hold the position for 10 seconds to start (if you are a beginner) and work your way up to 60 seconds, or as long as you can hold it.
Types of Plank Exercises
Another surprising fact about planks is that there are several variations or different types of planks.
The most common type of plank is the basic plank. Above, you just read detailed directions and a video on how to perform the basic plank exercise.
Under each type, I will mention how it varies from the basic plank, so you can complete any of these plank exercise.
1. Basic Plank
See detailed instructions and video above.
2. Modified Plank
If you are new to the plank exercise you might consider starting with the modified plank.
The only difference from the basic plank is that you put your knees on the ground.
3. Full Plank
Instead of putting your forearms on the ground, you are going to extend your arms, like you are at the top of a push-up.
4. Rocking Plank
You will go in the basic plank position. Then you simply push back and forth on your toes to rock your body.
5. Side Plank
This is like the name implies. A plank on your side. So, pick a side to lay on.
Put your feet together and your forearm under your shoulder. Then push up until your body is in a straight line.
6. Side Plank with Abduction
This is just like the side plank, but instead of putting your feet together, you raise one of your legs.
7. Full Plank with Leg Lift
Again, you extend your arms for the full plank. Then you are going to raise a leg, making sure to keep your hips square to the ground.
And hold that position for the length of your plank.
8. Military Plank
You start in a high plank position.
Then you will lower yourself down one forearm at a time and then one arm at a time move back into the full plank position.
9. Alternate Should Tap Plank
You can do this in the basic plank position or the full plank position.
All you have to do is alternate hands touching your opposite shoulder.
10. Mountain Climbers
Start in the full plank position.
Alternate bringing each knee up to your midsection as fast as you can.
11. Reverse Plank
This is the full plank but in reverse. So, you can start by sitting on your butt with your legs extended out in front of you, feet together.
You are going to push your palms into the floor, while lifting your hips and torso towards the ceiling.
Make sure your body stays in a straight line.
Plank Exercise Tips
These are some great plank exercise tips to always keep in mind no matter what type of plank you are doing.
These are going to help make sure you are getting the most out of your exercise.
1. Remember to always keep your body in a straight line.
Do not let you hips sink to the ground or your butt go in the air.
2. Tightening your core is going to help you make it stronger.
When you are first starting out with planks, it is going to feel weird trying to tighten your core, stay straight, and keeping yourself stable.
Take your time. It will get easier.
3. Always breath.
When people get in the plank position and tighten their core, they are concentrating on that and forget to breath.
4. If you want to make this more difficult, simply lift an arm or a leg.
You already do this in some of the plank exercises and you will notice those are a little more difficult.
5. Focus on quality not quantity.
Make sure you are doing the plan exercise correctly, even if you can’t hold it for that long at first.
You will be far better off than doing it incorrectly but holding it for a longer time.
Try the Plank Exercise
We have covered a lot of information in this post. You now know what the benefits of the plank exercise are and how to do it correctly.
This simple exercise can help improve your flexibility, coordination, and posture. It can also help relieve back pain, help you burn more calories, and put you in a better mood.
And considering that the only thing you need to do to perform a basic plank is to lay face down on the ground with your feet together. Then push yourself up on your forearms, keeping your body straight in line, it is hard to believe that you can experience those great benefits from just doing that.
Plus, we have gone over 11 different ways you can do a plank. That means, if you are getting bored with one or want a challenge, you have plenty of options to choose from and can give you the same benefits.
No matter what type of plank you choose to do, always keep the tips we covered in mind.
Make sure your body is always straight in line. Tighten your core as you perform the plank exercise and don’t forget to breath. If you need a challenge, simply lift an arm or a leg. And finally, always focus on quality over quantity.
So, not that you know why you should plank and how to perform it correctly, it’s time to start doing it!
Sign up for my blog and get the 30 Day Plank Challenge Coming Soon!