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Do Plank Exercises

What is it about?

When working out, we tend to focus only on the “classic” muscles, like abs, biceps or thighs. But by doing so, we neglect a lot of muscles located in a fundamental part of our bodies: the core (think the torso).

Core muscles play a major role in movements, supporting arms and legs and helping to transfer force from one limb to another. They also support back and spinal column, encouraging a good and healthy posture. In addition, they are used by several body functions such as breathing or continence. A strong core will improve your ability to move and exercise at a higher intensity. On the contrary, a lack of core muscular development can result in injuries, back troubles, and bad posture.

One of the best exercises to develop and strengthen your core muscles is extremely simple: planks!

Planks

Planks are isometric exercises, consisting in maintaining push-up like positions for a certain time. When holding these positions, you contract the muscles of your core, increasing their strength and endurance over time. Most exercises only use bodyweight.

Classic plank position
A classic plank exercise

Planks are very effective and time-efficient exercises. They provide visible results in a relatively short time. They are convenient as you don’t need any equipment (except maybe a mat) and you can do it almost anywhere. Planks are a great way to exercise when living a sedentary lifestyle: a few minutes of planking can boost metabolism for the entire day.

Doing plank exercises regularly will strengthen your core muscles, resulting in many benefits. It protects your back from injuries and improves your posture. It also improves your ability to perform more difficult and complex exercises. Finally, as shown by Harvard Medical School studies, planks are very effective at building a six-pack and sculpting the waistline.

The basic plank routine

To make steady progress, you should be doing a plank session 2 or 3 times a week. You only need a few minutes a day to perform a full beginner’s plank routine. We recommend you to start with these easy plank exercises:

Remember to watch your head and back alignment. Try to hold each position for 30 seconds. With time, you’ll be able to hold for more than 1 minute, and to start adding more difficult plank positions to the routine.

Take action

  • Warm up your body for a couple of minutes
  • Perform the following plank exercises (30s, each)
  • Gently stretch for 3 minutes
  • Drink a glass of water to rehydrate

Benefits

  • Strengthen your core muscles
  • Improve your posture
  • sculpt your waistline
  • Strengthen your back
  • Reduce risk of injuries
  • No equipment required

Goals

  • Do planks 2 times a week for 2 weeks
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  • Do planks 2 times a week for 4 weeks
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  • Do planks 3 times a week for 8 weeks
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