There are always enough excuses for you to not go to the gym or wake up early to do yoga. Let us, for a moment, agree that your excuses are valid. In that case, here’s one really simple, highly effective exercise that you can do every day. Doing planks require zero equipment and hardly any special skill. You can be any size, shape, weight, color, or fitness level to do the plank and gain from the many benefits it has to offer.
1. A Sense Of Balance
Though it might look like a simple enough exercise, doing the plank forces you to find your center of gravity, relying on your strength to support your body weight. Your center of gravity is usually at the exact middle of the body around which it can rotate freely in any direction and where the weight balanced on all opposite sides. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal Of Dance Medicine And Science, there exists a complex relationship between muscle strength and posture for dancers and for women who planking and stability control can lower the risk of injury.
2. Body Posture
Another direct benefit of planking is the improvement in posture. Most aches and pain in the neck, shoulders, and back is due to bad posture. On the other hand, healthy posture can increase productivity, alter mood and aid breathing. Planking helps you strengthen your muscles so that you have better posture and a stronger back.
3. Strengthens Core
Planking looks pretty simple but it’s only beneficial when you do it right. Make sure you are not arching your back, and that it is in line with your shoulders and legs. Pulling your abdomen in toward your spine will let you feel the burn. Here are the four major muscle groups you are exercising when planking:
Gluteus Maximus: Gives you a robust and toned behind
Oblique muscles: Causes a greater capacity for bending and twisting in your core
Transverse Abdominis: Allows you to lift heavier loads without straining your back and shoulders
Rectus Abdominous: Holds your center of gravity and allows for a toned abdomen
4. Spine And Back Support
Back pain is the most commonly reported form of pain. If you suffer from regular back pain, planking regularly can help you make your back muscles stronger. Back and spine damage can be prevented if you plank every day. If you’re already suffering from a back problem, talk to your doctor before doing planks.
5. Mental Health
If you’re wondering how doing plank exercises can influence mental health, good posture has actually been linked to three key psychological benefits.
Confidence: When your posture is more upright, it exudes strength and makes you feel powerful. This can have significant effects on job interviews, social encounters and speech making. Confidence is a key quality that can strengthen your relationships and help to build new ones.
Mood and stress: When scientists conducted a range of experiments to test how posture affects positive and negative thoughts, they found that participants who were upright and dynamic felt livelier and happier. And those who had slumped posture reported feeling depleted and isolated.
Alertness: Better posture will make you more alert, leading to a more productive mind. When your back is hunched over, your lungs inhale up to 30% less oxygen than you would when sitting straight. The lack of oxygen can drain your energy and obstruct your memory.
Tips For Proper Plank Form
Try to hold an elbow plank for one minute
Don’t look at the clock. Instead, read a magazine to take your mind off the burning
Make your planks dynamic by turning out a few side planks
Plank in front of a mirror to ensure you maintain the correct position
Do planks in sets; if one minute feels like a breeze, repeat it three more times and see how it feels.