You’ve been hearing it for years: planking trumps sit-ups and crunches every time for the best way to strengthen and tone those abs. Plank variations are consistently touted as being the best bodyweight exercises around, so why are we still talking about the plank today? To help you unlock the power of the plank as a regular part of your fitness routine!
Why Plank? Become taller, stretchier, and happier! Plus, it’s just plain convenient.
- Better posture and balance: When you plank, you are working your entire core, back, neck, and shoulders-the muscles that help you sit and stand up straighter and taller. Side planks and one-legged planks challenge your stability, and regular planking forces your body to engage your core: the key to any type of balancing movement.
- Flexibility: Proper plank form stretches out your entire body from head to toe. Your shoulders, an especially difficult muscle group to stretch, have to expand to help you hold your plank up, and you’ll feel a deep stretch in the backs calves and hamstrings.
- Mood boost + reduced back pain: Plank exercises work out the shoulder, back, and leg muscle groups that tend to be tight from sitting all day. Slumping shoulders and heavy legs can lead to mood-deflating general soreness or even serious chronic pain. If planking a few minutes a day can help you feel healthier and happier, what are you waiting for?
- Pack your plank: Ready for the best part about planking? No equipment required. Of course, you can amp up your planks with stability balls, a TRX, and other equipment, but really, all you need is your own bodyweight, great form, and a few variations to create a heart-pumping plank series. Planking is perfect for travel, and simple routines can be done anywhere you have floor space!
Planking Form: Let’s Review
Tips to Make Your Plank Perfect
- Push back through your heels and lock out your quads to form a strong lower body base
- Squeeze your glutes
- Scoop up your belly button as if someone is punching you right in the gut (such a fun image when you’re already shaking in that plank!)
- Try to separate your shoulder blades. Yes, that sounds strange and unlike any other exercise you would do, but remember we are trying to stretch and strengthen. You’ll be surprised by how much this helps you balance your weight.
- Re-engage, re-engage, re-engage: As soon as a muscle group starts to fatigue, fire it back up. Quads dropping? Lock them out again! Hips drooping? Squeeze those glutes and pick up your tummy. You can do it!
Are you ready to unleash the power of the plank on your own body? Start by planking for 1-2 minutes each day, and sooner than later, you’ll be ready to take on the plank series in the video below!
Shandi Rooney, the creator of the Mixx Method, is a group fitness instructor and private trainer in Scottsdale, Arizona. She currently teaches at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, and she offers small group interval training classes by appointment. For more information, call 480-652-6499.
Find StudioMixx classes at: http://studiomixxaz.com
Follow Shandi on Instagram: @studiomixxaz