Bodyweight exercises are gaining well-deserved popularity in the fitness world due to its practicality and simplicity. In bodyweight training, you use the weight of your body instead of any generic gym instrument, in order to get in shape and strengthen your body.
One such bodyweight exercise that is not going out of fashion any time soon is the planking exercise. They are one of the most effective and efficient exercises as they require a relatively short amount of time, minimal space and literally nothing but your body. And the additional benefit – you don’t have to wait too long to see the results.
When we talk about planks, we bet the first, and perhaps the only thing, that might be crossing your mind is abs & core strength. However, there’s much more that you can expect from planking exercise. Here are 6 benefits of planks that you may not know of.
1. Your Core Definition And Performance Improve
Planks are the best form of exercise when it comes to strengthening your core, there is no denying that. It engages and strengthens all the major abdominal muscles groups including the transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus, external oblique muscle and the glutes, which helps in improving your performance. The individual benefits of strengthening these muscle groups are as follow:
- Transverse abdominis when strengthened increases the ability to lift heavier weights.
- Strengthening the rectus adbominis improves sports performance, particularly the ones that involve jumping. And it plays a major role in giving you the six-pack look.
- Oblique muscles improve the capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting which can be beneficial for other workouts.
- Strengthening the glutes help you get a shapely buttock and support the back.
2. The Risks Of Back And Spinal Column Injury Are Decreased
Perhaps one of the best advantages of doing planks is its potential to build muscles. It is one of those exercises wherein you do not need to put too much pressure on your spine and hips. Regular planking exercises significantly reduces back pain and strengthens your muscles, which in turn ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around the upper side.
3. It Helps Improve Your Overall Balance
Standing up straight on one leg, without any support, for more than a couple of seconds is almost impossible for most. It is because your abdominal muscles aren’t strong enough to provide you with the balance that you need. Regular planks help you strengthen your core and side planks help improve your balance. Good balance comes in handy in almost all sports.
4. You Will Experience An Increased Boost To Your Overall Metabolism
Planking every day will burn more calories than most other traditional abdominal exercises including sit-ups, crunches, etc. The muscles you strengthen by doing planks regularly, will help you burn calories hours even after your workout. This is especially beneficial if your job requires you to sit in front of the computer for hours. Making it a routine to do planks for a minute before or after work will enhance your metabolism and will also ensure that your metabolic rate remains high all day long.
5. Improves Your Flexibility
Flexibility is another important benefit of doing regular planks as it expands and stretches all of your posterior muscle groups including the shoulders, shoulder blades, collarbone, hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes
6. You Will Significantly Improve Your posture
Believe us or not, but it’s true – regular planking will have a great impact on your posture, which in turn will give you several other benefits.
Good posture keeps your bones and joints aligned, maintaining their overall health. Healthy and aligned bones also mean improved overall effectiveness of your muscles. Good posture also ensures that your back and spine are in the correct position which reduces the risks of you suffering from back pain. As an additional benefit, good posture makes one look more attractive, healthier and more confident.
The Right Way Of Holding A Plank Position
- Get into a pushup position on the floor or your workout mat.
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms.
- Keep your torso straight and rigid.
- Ensure that your body is in a straight line from ears to toes.
- Keep your body parallel to the ground. There must be absolutely no bending.
- Lower your head by looking at the floor. Make sure your head is relaxed.
- Keep breathing slowly and steadily.
- Hold the position for as long as you can.
Note: When you think you are losing your form, stop immediately as holding a stooped position will not provide you with any benefits. You are only gaining benefits by holding a proper, aligned plank position.