What is Plank?
Heard about this famous exercise? The plank exercise is many people’s go-to exercise to improve strength, agility, flexibility, endurance, weight loss etc.. Not only that, plank, done therapeutically helps improve core stability, reduce pain and improve posture.
The good thing is, the plank can be done in many different ways depending on a person’s ability. Adding a few variations here and there, you can personalize this very beneficial exercise to use it just for you. In addition, you can also vary the exercise to fit it in your schedule. You can perform a quick 5 or 15 minutes of plank workout and call it a day or choose to add this as a part of the strengthening exercise in your 45 to 60 minutes of workout routine. The choice is yours!!
Why Perform Plank?
As an exercise, the plank has many benefits. Few of them are as follow:
- Improve muscle strength – works on whole body muscles
- To improve functional activity tolerance
- Improve core stability
- Reduces pain
- Improves and corrects posture
- Helps in the treatment of specific diagnosis like :
- closure of diastasis rectus abdominis
- Improves pelvic floor muscle function
- Helps with chronic back pain.
- One of a very effective postpartum exercise
- Prevent recurrence of Sciatic pain
- Help prepare for specific sports like a marathon, triathlon (& many more) by working on whole body muscles.
How to perform Planks?
There are many ways to perform planks. The standard planks are where you take weight through your forearm and toes. The idea is to keep the back as straight as possible and to avoid the hips or knees sinking in. The picture below shows the standard plank.
Variations in Planks:
As I mentioned earlier, there are multiple variations a person can do in standard planks. Each different position works on different sets of muscles or works differently on the same muscle groups. It is to the performer what is his/her goal from planks.
- Standard Planks:
I just mentioned standard plank above. That is what is considered “plank” traditionally.
- Straight Arms planks:
For the position above, if you stretched out your arms, (straighten your elbow) and weight bear through hands and toes, you come to a position which is called straight arms planks.
The picture below shows what a straight arm plank looks like.
- Side planks:
In standard planks, you are adding a rotation of your back.
Adding resistance :
You can add resistance by adding some weights to your arms or legs to make the exercises more challenging.
Adding crunches to planks:
This is extremely common in fitness classes. You can perform the crunches while in this position that asks for more muscle strength and endurance.
Planks with variations in arms or legs movement:
Here are the few variations that you can perform while in performing planks. These are self-explanatory based on the name.
- Lifting one leg up
- Opposite arm and leg lifting up
- Lifting knee to the opposite side.
Have happy Planking!!