Love it or hate it, planks are one of the best isometric, strength building exercises out there, and it will outperform any number of crunches you do in hopes of that coveted sixpack.
Isometrics, contracting your muscles against stationary resistance, are often used for rehabilitation, but are equally great for building strength and stamina.
Planks are actually a full body exercise. It engages your midsection, upper and lower body, strengthening quads, inner abs, pecs, as well as strengthening muscles around the joints.
Because of the planking position, the whole back of your body is getting a nice stretch, while the front is struggling to hold you up. Your hamstrings, shoulders and back, the arch of your foot and toes are getting longer by the second.
Posture and looks
By targeting the mid section, you’re also strengthening muscles that help stabilizing and holding up the spine, giving you a taller, better posture.
Mental and mood
It may seem like an odd connection, but planks will actually put you in a better mood. My clients beg to differ, but hear me out. Planking actually stretches muscles that tend to tighten up during the day, causing tension and headaches. It also help calm the brain.
As easy as it is, many people still get the form wrong, which can not only take the work out of the targeted muscles, it can also lead to injuries and imbalances. Things to watch out for :
You can do a high plank on your hands, or opt for a slightly more difficult short plank, coming down on your forearms. Just make sure the elbows land directly under the wrist.
Slowly build up your strength, going longer each time, or if you want something a bit more dynamic, try this mini circuit, rotating from the front to the back of your body, working both posterior and anterior chains.
Here are also some previous articles we’ve done on the benefits of planking
Plank Workout Routine
30 second plank
30 second mountain climbers
30 second hollow man
30 second scissor legs
Repeat four times
What’s your best time? Let us know in the comments. Happy planking!