I’m of the opinion that everyone needs to know how to do planks. Doing planks is absolutely the fastest way to strengthen your core!
It’s easy to think planks are only for your stomach and abs, but they are a great way to strengthen the muscles in your back.
That’s important because if you have back pain it can be from weak back muscles. Building core muscles can often solve a lot of back problems along with sculpting your body.
2 Primary Reasons To Do Planks
● Transform Your Body Shape With Planks
It’s great to have big arms, but a strong core and back muscles are the building blocks to start from, especially with body building and transforming your body. These muscles are primary to staying healthy and mobile throughout life, as well as staying slim and looking your best.
● Increase Mental Toughness and Core Strength
Doing plank exercises are easy enough to demonstrate, and can look a lot easier than they really are when done with correct posture and form. They can be a real challenge to your core, back, and mental stamina. You can rest assured that getting through those last seconds will take plenty of mental toughness.
How To Do Planks
There are about as many variations as one could imagine, but the basic plank is where it all starts.
How To Start
It all begins by resting the weight of your body on your forearms and toes, sorta like a push-up stance looks. Generally, your body will be about 6-10 inches off the floor with nothing but your forearms and toes holding you up.
Proper Form is The Key to Results
The key to getting the most from this workout is to hold your body as straight as you can. You want your hips, legs, and shoulders to all be in a straight line. In fact, the correct form would be for someone to be able to lay a stick along the length of your body, with it touching your upper back, hips, and heels.
Now that you find yourself in the correct posture, keep your core muscles engaged and hold the position for as long as your can. The burn will come quick enough, so there’s a good chance it won’t be long the first few times you do planks.
They Get Easier
Set goals to get the best results, and every time you plank, make yourself hold the position just a little longer than the last time. The more often you practice, the easier it will get as you build strength and muscle. However, getting the most from the exercise sessions will require you to continue increasing the time you can correctly hold the position and posture.
There’s no doubt that doing planks is one of the most productive ways to increase your core strength and the fastest. You don’t really need to move past the original plank workouts , but after a few weeks, you may want to progress the style for even more effect.
What happens as you master the original form is that it starts taking longer to feel the core burn. In fact, once you reach a certain level you will be holding the plank for several minutes instead of the seconds when you started out.
3 Plank Variations
This may be the time for you to push yourself with tougher variations that are more difficult. And there are a lot of ways to make the exercise more challenging and more difficult. A popular method is to do the plank on an unbalanced surface rather than the floor.
1. Stability Ball
Do this by putting your forearms on a bosu or stability ball and your toes on the floor. This need to balance yourself with your forearms on a ball is a different challenge to the core muscles. Not only will it feel different to muscles, but will provide an intense level of mind over body. You will need to force your concentration levels up as you keep core muscles activated to stay balanced.
2. Plank Push-ups
For yet another variation, try the plank to push-up. This will be a greater challenge to your core, arms, and chest. Do the plank to push-up by getting yourself into the original plank position and then add a pushup motion to the routine.
Basically, you are doing pushups from your forearms instead of your palms. Now that you’ve at least somewhat mastered the original style of plank, you should be able to do the pushup style as you keep your body in perfect form and line.
These will hit your core muscles as well as your chest and arm muscles. Remember though, that form is everything, and no slouching.
3. Hip Raises
The last variation is the hip raise plank. Like always, start from the original plank position with a straight body and good form. Now raise your hips as far upward as possible and hold for a second before returning to the original position.
The upward and downward motion works the upper and middle of your abdominal muscles. Do as many repetitions as you can, and add more challenge by holding both the plank and the hip raise position for longer and longer times.
The thing about doing planks, is that they can feel extremely difficult at first, but it only takes a short time to to get better at them. Once you know how and have mastered the original form, there’s a multitude of plank variations to stay challenged and keep a strong core. They are like everything else in life, in that the more you practice, the more the benefits.