Before getting down to reading this article, I would kindly encourage you to take a look around, reader. Go out and take in the sights but pay special attention to focus on the people around you.
You undoubtedly see quite a large number of people and in this haze of a fast-paced life, we often tend to notice the differences a lot less than if we simply stopped for a moment and looked around.
A lot can be said just by observing the people around you, their facial expression, the way they walk, the way they go about their daily routine, the little details are in place here.
These little details all add up and contribute to the quality of our life and that fact just flies over us a lot of times, sounds so crazy yet it holds water in many different areas of our daily routine.
This time, I want you to take a moment and take a quick comparison between people who dedicated a modicum of their time on their fitness and those who do not, do you realize how many benefits simple exercises added to your routine can bring?
You will quickly notice that people who are physically active achieve a lot better results in virtually EVERY aspect of their lives and as a result are a lot more fulfilled and happy.
They are more optimistic, they more easily uphold mental a stable level of mental acuity, look and feel better overall, what’s not to like?
What I have for you, dear reader is a simple formula to enhance your life from every angle. What I have for you is a bodyweight exercise that is becoming more popular for its practicality and simplicity with benefits that can be reaped VERY QUICKLY!
A sculpted body akin to Greek gods and the willpower trained through prolonged conviction in exercising is available to you with first steps towards that right in front of you.
Now let’s explore a technique recommended by fitness experts as the bread and butter of the results we can attain without too much difficulty, with just a minimal investment of effort in time!
That technique is called “the plank”.
Some exercises hold an established golden example that grants much in return for relative ease, and this is exactly what the plank accomplishes with flying colors.
It has a long-standing use within yoga practitioners and professional sports teams alike. It can get rid of excess fat and tone a good deal of muscle. It is beneficial to your entire body and it comes in a practical package.
With everything said so far, lets first see how do we exactly do a plank.
- 1 HOW TO DO A PLANK
- 2 1. CORE STRENGTHENING
- 3 2. IT BOOSTS THE METABOLISM
- 4 3. YOU HAVE A LESSER CHANCE OF STRAINING YOURSELF OR BEING INJURED DURING OTHER EXERCISES
- 5 4. IT WILL SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECT YOUR POSTURE
- 6 5. YOUR COORDINATION WILL BE DRASTICALLY IMPROVED
- 7 6. YOU WILL BE MORE FLEXIBLE
- 8 7. YOUR MOOD WILL EXPERIENCE A BIG BOOST
- 9 8. YOUR SPINE AND BACK WILL HAVE ENFORCED SUPPORT
- 10 MANY BENEFITS, ONE EXERCISE
HOW TO DO A PLANK
When you are doing planks you cannot come up with an excuse. Why? Because all you need is a floor and a few spare seconds.
In this part of the article, you will know how to do a plank in a step by step basis with some variations
- The standard version of the plank
- Your hands must be placed under your shoulders (like you are doing a pushup)
- Your toes should be grounded and firm to support your body
- With your head lined up with your back, your neck and spine should be in a neutral position rising position
- When you are first starting this exercise, try to hold it for about 10 – 20 seconds. As you get better and more comfortable at it, you can add more time while keeping your form steady.
- Knee plank
An easier version than the standard variation, it is a great way to practice your form before moving on to more challenging variations.
- First, rest both of your knees to the ground, this will relieve your back lower back from additional stress.
- Hold your hands firmly on the ground and keep a straight posture while firmly pushing back against it.
- This pose has a flexible period depending on your preference
- Single leg plank
This is a slightly harder variation that puts additional pressure on the core (which translates to additional gains)
Everything is the same as with the instructions mentioned before, but this time lift one of your legs as far as you possibly can within the zone of comfort and taking into account the straight position of the back.
Demonstration that can help can be found here, alongside additional beginner-friendly versions
The benefits it brings can alter anyone’s life in many different ways and now you, dear reader, will be shown the full capacity of your transformation in every single detail.
Let’s have a look!
1. CORE STRENGTHENING
The core is very complex, it is the basis of every movement we make and, subsequently, can be the reason why deterioration that can come with age can slow us down if we don’t keep it maintained.
It keeps our spine in the right alignment and keeping the rest of our back in check. Training improves our ability to avoid injury and increasing the strength of our backs.
The plank is best utilized when used in combination with cardio and exercises aimed at improving the strength of a large number of muscle groups which is a good way to keep in shape regardless of age.
The bones, alongside your muscles and joints, are the prime targets of betterment the plank works on. It also works on the rectus abdominis which will get you rocking a six-pack and an increase in jumping related activities
The muscle group and increases in performance are as follows:
- Oblique muscles – increase in abilities related to waist twisting and side- bending.
- Glutes – A much lighter feeling on the back with a sculpted backside.
- Transverse abdominis – If you are into lifting, the development of this muscle group will give you a visible increase in weight lifting exercises.
- Rectus abdominal – The six-pack factory that is sure to leave a lasting impression on onlookers and yourself when you realize the progress you made, alongside an increase in agility.
At a side note, the added support on your back will mold your booty and give you a great look.
If you happen to be interested in bodybuilding, you will be interested to know that working on the core
No matter the occasion or activity, we routinely use this part of the body whether we realize it or not (bending, reaching for things). It accomplishes this by acting as a transfer center of force and a stabilizer, and this exercise will sharpen and toughen it up before you know it.
Increase in flexibility – It builds up general strength but it does a lot more than that! Shoulder muscles, shoulder bones, and hamstring will stretch noticeably and you will feel it all.
You will feel the difference going so far as to be able to touch your toes with ease, with the addition of side planks that work on adding on your sides.
Here you will find modified versions of the exercise that will offer a tremendous assortment of options to help you in your choice to find out the correct muscle group.
2. IT BOOSTS THE METABOLISM
Whether one of us wants to get that beautiful glace stealing body we see advertised throughout the media or to just get in better shape, the source of weight loss is contained within the activity of our metabolism.
The process can be described as the ability to break down molecules to fulfill the body’s need for energy, and the faster it works the more excess fat is lost through burning energy.
Muscle cells crave large quantities of energy and thus burn a lot of calories and exercises that build upon muscle strength and endurance help facilitate this process, helping you reach your desired fitness/ health goals.
Whenever you work out and engage certain parts of the body you use the stored glucose in those muscles. The process of replenishing those glucose storages requires energy that is gained by burning calories and this way you can manage how much of it you lose during workouts.
The plank activates the entirety of your body in such a way that it outshines the burning rate of similar abdominal workouts.
The muscles that you work out this way allow you to burn more energy even when you are seated which is especially important to highlight in case if you sit a lot during the day, but that is not all.
Adding it to your morning routine in the span of 40 seconds to 5 minutes can help facilitate an ongoing increase in metabolic activity throughout the entire day, a phenomenal addition to anyone.
3. YOU HAVE A LESSER CHANCE OF STRAINING YOURSELF OR BEING INJURED DURING OTHER EXERCISES
Since the core is such an important muscle that regulates almost all forms of movement, it will drastically lower the chance of injury in most forms of movement.
The plank is a strength exercise that is composed of holding the body in a straight position akin to a pole and holding it in like that, with it being elaborated in detail here.
4. IT WILL SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECT YOUR POSTURE
It will show you how to establish firmer control over yourself and perform graceful moves that require precision and stability that many have lost with the lack of emphasis on a dynamic lifestyle.
Practicing the plank daily will slowly edge a less constrained feeling in the upper back and neck. As you grasp better control and feel of them, your overall feeling of control and stability will increase.
Proper posture goes far beyond affecting movement, it shows the proper alignment of the bones, a functioning nervous system and proper operations of internal organs – all being aspects we strive to keep running properly.
The ligaments and vertebrae are positively affected by keeping a healthy posture and as a result, you will be far less likely to experience any back problems
How else is this useful? Using the full extent of your height has the added benefit of nurturing the air of confidence you radiate to yourself and the people around you (especially useful in a work environment).
Proper body control and natural positioning will deter the possibility of developing conditions that can prove to be detrimental to your general well-being.
On top of that, certain studies claim that the learning capabilities people have since infancy is directly related to the intake of oxygen and as such, the posture, marking it with yet another fact to keep in mind.
5. YOUR COORDINATION WILL BE DRASTICALLY IMPROVED
When you do a plank your body is set inside its center of gravity, relying on its strength to hold your body weight when you are working out. This center is located at the center of our bodies
One of the most enticing pluses you will obtain through this exercise is achieved through the direct correlation with the core muscles and the body‘s centers of stability.
It is a myth that your extremities are parts of the body that determine your stability, but that is a lie, it all falls to the core. You can imagine why this part is often left out in place for working out extremities.
Whenever you are enjoying any sort of leisure activity such as jogging, biking and pretty much every sort of physical activity, you are putting your core in motion, you can say it is always in action.
Workouts that focus on a single group of muscles are that much effective when you can hold your desired position all that much longer than before committing to this exercise.
All of this highlights the essential aspect of working out the core – it is the muscles of the core that regulate the way our bodies carry themselves.
As you commit to doing plank regularly, you will notice an evident shift in your capabilities. You will feel more nimble and agile, stretching more easily and feeling a lot less constraint in general.
All the more reason to get down on the floor and get those sweet gains just waiting to be reaped.
6. YOU WILL BE MORE FLEXIBLE
Flexibility is the ability for something to bend and it is crucial in all activities that require twisting, bending (obviously) and reaching. It is used during our everyday lives for pretty much every activity you can think of, even if it is something as simple as turning your head to the side.
On the other hand, a lack of it is one of the significant causes of injuries during prolonged physical strain or sedentary- related problems.
The plank works on the lower half of our bodies and gives a worthwhile benefit through that workout
This is achieved through the stretching and expansion of every posterior group of muscles we have, alongside our shoulders, collarbone and shoulder blades.
As this exercise is modifiable, many variations of the plank exist for additional workouts aimed at targeting different muscle groups, such as the side plank.
What sets it apart is the number of muscles it targets that are less often utilized but not less important:
- teres minor and the infraspinatus – they manage the rotation of the upper arm bones
- the transverse abdominis -they lighten the strain put on the spine that resides around our waists, also our inmost abdominal muscle group.
- the quadratus lumborum – our lumbar spine is supported by these muscles and kept in a stable position.
This version specifically targets the obliges, gluteus maximus and the gluteus medium that serves the purpose of hip stabilization. In contrast to many alternatives that put pressure on your neck and lower back, the side plank puts none.
This killer addition to your workout allows us to work on muscle groups that are often less included in traditional forms of exercises but don‘t let this fool you.
All of these elements contribute to keeping the optimal stability and condition of our joints and are recommended as an addition to every routine.
Since it empowers the entirety of our core, it embodies an important lesson – we get more and more accustomed.
7. YOUR MOOD WILL EXPERIENCE A BIG BOOST
Being the high-intensity workout that it is, it can significantly contribute to that sweet „on top the world“ sensation that every fitness enthusiast savors daily.
Three psychological benefits are closely linked to holding a good posture.
- Improved confidence – an upright position helps you make you feel stronger and exudes confidence, helping you in many social situations that always comes in handy, you will have an easier time to make and keep your relationships the way you want them.
- An increase in productivity and alertness – holding a straight posture is proven to reduce stress and maintain a sense of self-control. On the other hand, a hunched back causes our intake of oxygen to be reduced by 30 %, affecting our energy
It accomplishes this with the release of high doses of endorphins. These chemicals interact with our brains and make us less susceptible to pain.
The side effect that makes it worthwhile is the increase in our mood in a similar reaction caused when taking a substance such as morphine without the drawback of addiction.
As sedative chemicals, endorphins are released as a response when a reaction within the brain‘s neurotransmitters occurs. The reaction caused when endorphins come into contact with neural receptors is the same as the ones that are affected when taking medication, but they are free, produced by the body itself and giving us benefits without any drawbacks.
With this awesome effect in mind, there are a couple of others worth mentioning:
- With regular exercise you will sleep a lot better, your musculature will increase in growth and regeneration
- Your skin will tighten, counteracting the effects of aging significantly (just look at someone like Arnold, you would never guess his age and that can be achieved by you as well )
- Your self-esteem will have a gradual increase in your mood. As the old saying goes „ in a healthy body resides a healthy mind“
- Symptoms associated with anxiety and depression are lightened and in many cases diminished by the body‘s production of mood-boosting chemicals, giving you a sense of personal control over your emotions, thoughts, and body
In a way, you can say that focusing on a sport or pretty much any physical activity to be like a meditation on the move. Whenever you have a bad day, you can forget about it and feel extremely better about yourself just with something as simple as doing a plank.
With all the different areas the plank covers with its effective methodology, you will soon find yourself looking forward to every rep and turning it into a habit of sorts, can you think of a simpler answer to the most complex of troubles?
8. YOUR SPINE AND BACK WILL HAVE ENFORCED SUPPORT
Ok most of us have had experienced back pain at one point or another, and I can stand behind how annoying and detrimental it can be, but it is far from an unfixable problem that needs expensive treatment and equipment.
This exercise will do wonders for taking care of this troublesome occurrence. Doing plank daily will keep them healthy and maintained better than any sort of back belt ever would, with the only investment being your time.
MANY BENEFITS, ONE EXERCISE
The positive reputation this exercise holds is well earned, you can do it anywhere without any sort of special equipment, making it easy practical and easy, coming in especially handy for beginners.
You will feel your biceps and muscles slowly but surely being developed under the strain of the exercise that exceeds many different forms of exercises aimed at biceps toning and development.
With everything that the plank offers, it is and always will be one of the best exercises you can do whenever and wherever you want, all equipment- free.