Plank, all the benefits and how to properly perform the most famous abdominal exercise that allows you to reduce your belly and keep other body parts in shape with 5 minutes a day.
Ever heard of plank? The plank is a great help to keep fit! It is a static exercise, specific for the abdominals. What makes it so special is its ability to make other body muscles work at the same time. Tones, sculpts and slims all over our figure.
It has become popular all over the world for four main reasons:
- it is very effective;
- it is carried out freely, without any specific tool
- it can be practiced anywhere;
- just 5 minutes a day to run it and enjoy the results.
But what are the muscles that are involved with the plank besides the abs? The muscles of the back, legs, hips, buttocks, shoulders and chest. By toning the muscles, the plank helps to improve posture by preventing and combating various diseases connected to it.
Benefits of the plank
- More toned buttocks : by stimulating the buttocks and hamstrings, you will notice a firming of the back and a reduction in cellulite.
- Stronger back : thanks to the toning exercises, the back is strengthened and also ensures better support for the upper part of the body. The risk of back and spine injuries is greatly reduced.
- Flat belly : the abdomen is the part of the body that is most stressed by the plank. In fact, the training allows the abdominal muscles to work perfectly: upper, lower and lateral.
- Better elasticity : the planking exercises lengthening all the muscle groups, allow greater elasticity.
- More toned legs: the plank tones all the muscles, including those of the legs (thighs and calves).
- Correct posture: by strengthening the back muscles, you will also increase the ability to remain upright with a straight and stable posture.
- Greater balance: by improving the posture you will obviously get an improvement in the balance. This benefit is fundamental because it helps improve performance in all types of sports activities.
- Increased metabolism: involving the muscles of almost the entire body, the more calories will be burned than traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The daily performance of the exercises allows not only to increase the metabolism but also to keep it at high levels.
- Reduced muscle stress: sitting all day (home or work), the muscles of the legs contract and the shoulders become tense due to the “hunched” position that we take during the day. The plank is great for relaxing and relaxing the muscles.
To execute a perfect plank it is necessary to follow the following rules:
- Lie down facing the abdomen towards the ground.
- Bend the elbows 90 ° aligning them perpendicularly to the shoulders. Alternatively, you can also keep your arms straight but still perpendicular to your shoulders.
- The body must form a straight line (from head to heels). You will only have to lean on your forearms or hands and on your toes.
- The head and neck should remain upright, without stretching them forward or bending them.
- The abdominal muscles and buttocks should always remain contracted until the exercise is finished.
- The legs must be perfectly straight and slightly apart, without bending the knees.
- Watch the video below for a detailed guide on how to perform plank exercises perfectly:
Advice for proper execution
To ensure that the plank is effective, it is essential to maintain the position for a few seconds or minutes (advanced level). Learn to listen to your body, do not try to resist beyond the limit of endurance. The secret is in fact to gradually acquire resistance without experiencing pain or any other kind of discomfort.
Beginner level: Start by holding the position for 10-15 seconds on each set. Perform 3 total series with 2 minutes pause between one and the other.
Intermediate level: Hold the position for 30-40 seconds on each set. Perform 3 total series with a 2 minute break.
Advanced level: Hold for 1-2 minutes per set. Perform 5 total series with a 2 minute break.
Errors to avoid
Performing the training in the wrong way increases the risk of causing damage to your back or some other part of your body. It is not important how long you can hold the position but how much you can stay still while maintaining the correct position.
Here are the most common mistakes to avoid:
- Basin too high or too low. The back must be straight as a board (“plank” in English means “table”). The sides must remain in axis (not inclined) and buttocks (contracts) must remain in line with the back.
- Shoulders not in line with the arms . If your elbows or arms are not aligned with your shoulders you will lose your balance by taking incorrect positions throughout the exercise.
- Leaning head and neck . By tilting your head down you will have tension problems in the upper back and shoulders. Instead, stretching the head upwards will create considerable pressure on the cervical spine. With your eyes try to fix your hands on the ground.
- Sagging or bowing of the shoulders. The shoulders must be rigid, as well as the abdomen, because the yielding or the bending go to discharge or to press on the vertebral column.