Move of the month – Plank

Written by Elsie Velazquez Cert. personal Trainer Prescription Fitness

The plank is a very popular core exercises and the reason is that all of your core muscles are used during the plank exercise including: rectus abdominus, transverse abdominals, lower back extensors, and even a slight use of the obliques.  Besides increasing core strength, there are many other benefits to incorporating the plank into your exercise routine.  Below I will list five reasons you should consider giving this move a try!

  1. Toned Abs

Planking will help build your deep inner core muscles that will give you the “six-pack” look.  As your abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section will tighten.  Keep in mind, however, that planking alone with not get you the look of a six-pack – diet is also crucial.  Body fat levels in both men and women must be low in order to achieve the look.

  1. Reduce Back Pain

Planks work for back pain because they strengthen your core.  When you plank, you use your back muscles – especially those in your upper back.   A strong back decreases back pain.

  1. Flexibility

While building strength, planks also increase flexibility in your posterior muscle groups. The muscles around your shoulders, collarbone, and shoulder blades will expand and stretch.  While performing a plank, you are using your hamstrings and even the arches of your feet and your toes.

  1. Improve Your Mood

Performing almost every exercise has the potential to give you a mood boost, and planks are no different! Planks, however, help stretch and ultimately relax muscles groups that often become stiff and tense from prolonged sitting. Releasing the tension can provide a mood boost.

  1. Improve Your Balance and Posture

To do a plank correctly, you must engage your abs to stay upright. Side planks or planks with extensions are particularly beneficial for building balance.  Performing planks on a stability ball or BOSU ball increases the balance building benefit.  If you do planks regularly, you’ll find that your posture improves – you’ll sit and stand straighter.

There are many different types of planks.  Here are a few you can try: