STRENGTHEN THE CORE AND WORK UPPER AND LOWER BODY MUSCLES.
When you perform plan exercises, you work all of the muscles that make up your core and gain all of the benefits that come with building a strong core. As if that wasn’t enough, planks also work the following muscles:
- Rhomboid major and minor.
- Rotator cuff.
- Anterior, medical and posterior delts.
- Gastrocnemius (calf muscle).
PREVENT MUSCLE IMBALANCES
It’s easy to develop muscle imbalances when only performing abdominal exercises (such as sit-ups). Most people do not perform spinal and gluteal strengthening exercises to compensate for the abdominal work. Planks condition the front and back of the body simultaneously. When muscles are comparably developed on both sides of the body, the result is better posture, more spinal support, and less lower-back pain.
IMPROVE FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT
One of the best selling points for planks is their relevance when it comes to functional movement, which is essential movement to living life. Things such as squatting, bending, running, lifting, jumping, and throwing are all functional movements initiated in the core.
PROVIDE A SAFE AND EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO CRUNCHES AND SIT-UPS
While sit-ips are an important functional movement for daily life (for example, the ability to get out of bed every morning), they are not always the best core conditioning choice for everyone.
Crunches and sit-ups only work the muscles on the front side of the core, so it’s necessary to do back strengthening exercises as well. However, planks work the entire core, as well as many other muscles in the body.
Crunches and sit-ups can place pressure on the spine through the repetitive flexion and extension of the spine, and over time, this can become an issue. If you experience any discomfort with these movements, plank training can be useful substitute.
Furthermore, crunches and sit-ups are counter intuitive for those with ruptured, bulging, or slipped discs or other spinal injuries. Planks are a much safer alternative in those cases.
And finally, crunches and sit-ups can have negative effects on posture by promoting rounded shoulders. Plan exercises promote good posture.
OFFER VERSATILE EXERCISE
The best thing about planks is that there are countless variation of the exercise, ranging from traditional and side plank variations to planks using external weights or unstable surfaces. There is a plank for every body and every fitness level. If one doesn’t work for you because of injury, body type, imbalance, or a lack of requisite strength, there are many other options. Entire workouts can be programmed around the plank.
This part includes the most basic variations of the plank, which serve as the foundation for building core strength. These planks are performed only with your own bodyweight.
The best thing about the planks featured in this part is that they require no special equipment and can be performed anywhere, (at the gym, at home, or as a travel workout).
There are many variations of these four planks, ranging from intermediate to advanced, so you won’t get bored with your core training.
Ready to put these planks into practice and build the strongest core of your life as you change the shape of your body? Get ready to feel the burn with these ten workouts that link together a series of planks. The workout range from beginner to advanced and are all around five minutes in duration.
WORKOUT 1: BEGINNER
The focus of this workout is to build up the amount of time you are able to stay in a full plank. As the 15-second holds get easier, start to increase the amount of time you are in the plank over the course of 1 minute. For example, start 15-seconds in the full plank hold, with five seconds rest and repeated three times, and then increase to 25-seconds in the full plank, with 5-seconds rest and repeated once. Continue to increase the plank hold time until you are able to hold a plank for a full minute.
WORKOUT 2: INTERMEDIATE
These variations are rep-based and add movement to the plank.