I’m not joking.
Firmer arms. Flatter tummy. Stronger posture.
All of this and more when you do a PLANK.
Sounds like a P.T. Barnum promise? Hey, I’m with you there, but if you’ve ever tried doing a plank you’ll instantly nod in agreement to those statements.
What is a Plank?
For the uninitiated, a plank is a very simple exercise. You maintain a position similar to a push-up and you hold it for a set period of time.
There are several different types of planks, but today we’re going to focus on the basic elbow plank. We can graduate to leg raised planks in the future (stay tuned).
Is it really this easy and beneficial? You bet!
The folks at Healthline agree — planks can help tighten your tummy, strengthen your core and tone your muscles. Why do you think most articles on planking use titles such as: Plank Your Way to Rock-Hard Abs?
Because it works.
It also works wonders on your posture. And here’s why that’s important:
Good posture can protect your spine. Bad posture can create some REAL problems. Problems you’d like to avoid! Also, a bad posture can possibly pose a firm long-term risk on your spinal discs, and spinal disc problems are no spa treatments. If you don’t work on improving your bad posture; your bad posture will work on destroying you.
Sounds bad, doesn’t it? That is why experts push the idea of strengthening your core so much.
The Good News Is….
- Activates your biceps, shoulders, and neck muscles
- Strengthens the muscles around your spine
- Tones your arms and biceps
- Shapes your butt and thighs
- Helps decrease back injury
- Keeps your abs engaged
- Improves core strength
- Increases flexibility
- Boosts metabolism
- Improves posture
- Burns calories
Sound good? Cool. Let’s get to it:
Planks for Beginners
How To Do a Plank
- Start in a push-up position.
- Bend your elbows until your forearms touch the ground.
- Keep your body in a straight line – from head to heels.
- Your head must be looking straight at the floor.
- Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
Start at 10 seconds and increase your time based on your baseline strength. If you can easily do 10 seconds then you can safely aim a bit higher.
When you plank, you want your form to feel like stone — like a gargoyle in a pose… not that you’ll ever find a planking gargoyle guarding a cathedral, but you get the idea.
When holding a saggy plank, it’s time to stop for the day. The plank must be performed with perfect form for best results. Once your body begins sagging and bending — that’s just your body telling you “that’s enough”.
For beginners, it is recommended not to do planking for more than 10 minutes per day. But if you manage to consistently perform a proper plank, you will feel better and stronger — and you will want to do more of them. Want to make it a little more interesting? Check out this workout circuit which includes planking.
Set a goal to start incorporating planks into your daily routine. Your body will thank you for it!
Plank, Rest, Repeat.