What Are Planks Good For? (More Than You Might Think!)
Have you ever considered adding planks into your workout routine?
If you've avoided them in the past, or even questioned how effective they truly are, now might be the time to revisit the move. Looking to take your workouts to the next level or finally sculpt that six-pack in the new year?
Then planks definitely earn a place in your gym routine. When it comes to strengthening your core, while the move might seem simple, there are truly few moves more effective than the humble plank.
They Strengthen Your Core and Make Abs Pop
Don't let their appearance fool you—planks are far from easy.
If you've ever attempted holding one for more than just a few seconds, or done variations on the basic move such as video below, you know how much they'll make you feel the burn! Just a basic plank can leave you sweating.
Just as the terms implies, doing a plank involves resting either on the underside of your forearms or palms of your hands with your body extended in a straight line parallel to the floor, resting on your toes.
You don't need weights and you don't need equipment to almost immediately feel your core muscles engaging. For a full demonstration of proper plank technique, check out this video below, which shows the basic form as well as proper technique to make sure you're getting the most of the move.
The most obvious benefit you'll feel almost immediately from a plank is the strengthening of your core muscles. In order to hold your body in a straight line, which is essential to getting the full benefits, you'll rely on your abdominal muscles. As your core strengthens over time, your abdominal muscles tighten, and this helps you to sculpt that toned six-pack we all want.
They Burn More Calories And Work More Muscles Than Most Workouts
You don't have to do endless crunches to get ripped; in fact, planks help target those deep ab muscles that help to make up the total range of muscles we need to see those washboard abs.
While crunches only hit a few of the muscles making up the rectus abdominous, commonly known as the six pack, planks truly hit them all. You'll be activating your transverse abdominous, obliques, back muscles, shoulders, and hips. Talk about getting way more bang for your buck!
Not only will you be recruiting more muscles and therefore working more than many traditional ab exercises, you'll be torching more calories even while holding a totally still plank form. Again, because to do a plank you're recruiting muscles in your legs and glutes to hold your body rigid, more muscle groups working, equals more calories torched!
They Can Help You Stand Taller
Posture is important, and if you've found yourself slouching over, perhaps after spending all day at a desk, adding planks to your routine can counteract this by helping you stand straight and tall.
What you do to tighten your core muscles in turn translates to how you're able to hold your whole torso, including your chest, back, shoulders, and neck. While you'll feel the burn mainly in your abs, you'll be able to hold your entire body straighter because of them.
They Will Improve Your Flexibility
We bet you didn't associate planks with a more flexible body, but by now you shouldn't be surprised to learn that they provide a plethora of hidden benefits. As you hold the plank form, you'll be giving your muscles a good stretch; everything from your shoulders and collarbone to toes, arches, and hamstrings will be lengthened and loosened.
They Create a Stronger Back
Planks don't only work the front of your body, they're also a great choice if you're looking to strengthen your entire torso, specifically your back muscles.
A tight, strong core is key to keeping your back supported and your muscles toned. Since planks rely on the muscles 360 degrees around your torso as you perform them, you'll inadvertently strengthen your back muscles too, so they're truly a two-for-one move. Over time, planks are your best ally to helping reduce lower back pain.
If you've ever downplayed the benefits of planks, we hope now you've realized just how much this one simple move can do for your body, literally from head to toe. There's more than one way to carve out that six pack and planks are one of the most effective and perhaps underrated moves to do so, while also toning, strengthening and stretching out almost every other part of your torso and entire body.
Was this article helpful to you? Do you have any questions about planks and their benefits? Be sure to start adding planks to your regular workout routine, and try out the wide variety of variations to feel the burn and create your strongest physique yet.