Planking With Purpose

Why plank? Fitness experts tend to agree that planks are awesome core-strengthening exercises. For those not in the know, a plank is a move in which you hold the trunk portion of your body off the ground in a straight line. fitness.mercola.com suggests that the ability to hold a plan for at least two minutes is a sign of adequate core strength and physical fitness. In this post we will look at some of the benefits as well as types of planks you can do.

Benefits

  • Toned Belly – This may seem obvious, but the advantage of planks when trying to improve your core strength is that it works multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
  • Improved Balance – Doing planks regularly helps you to find your center of gravity, as per theheartysoul.com. This in turn can help you improve your performance in athletic activities and dance.
  • Increased Flexibility – Planks do more than just help you with your core strength. As Szabo Laszlo reports on LifeHack.org, this exercise “expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes.”
  • Reduced Back Pain – According to Andrea Cespedes on LiveStrong.com, stronger ab muscles help support your back muscles, improving your posture and reducing pain from slouching.

Types of Planks

We love these moves we found on Shape.com. Check out the link for detailed descriptions and photos, as well as some additional moves.

  • Basic Plank – From a push-up position, bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms. Be sure your body forms a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
  • Plank with leg lift – Start with the basic plank, then hold one flexed foot a few inches off the floor. Repeat each leg about 10 times.
  • Side Plank – Lie on your side, knees straight and feet stacked, then prop yourself up on your elbow and forearm. Hold 30 seconds on each side.
  • Side Plank with leg lift – From side plan position, lift your top leg as high as you can, foot flexed. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Get started with these moves and make planking part of your exercise routine. Let us know how it goes!