I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!
It’s pretty easy to explain the ever-growing popularity of planks. We see it all over mainstream entertainment, from Extreme Weightloss to Biggest Loser, and plank challenges are popping up everywhere, encouraging you to increase your hold time.
Here’s the good news: It’s not a useless fad! Anytime Fitness trainers like me are just as likely to use some version of a plank several times a week with clients in personal and group training, for very good reasons.
5 Reasons Why
I LOVE Planks
1. It’s for everyone! Any shape, any age.
Even if it’s difficult for you to get on the ground, you can modify the plank by placing your elbows on an elevated space. Doing this with your elbows on a bench, box, or even your couch is a great place to start!
2. It’s a head-to-toe exercise.
Planking is a great workout for your abs, but you will also be working on your quadriceps, hips, shoulders, and lower back. In many variations, you’ll also hit your chest, glutes, and even calf muscles!
3. It helps back pain, and back pain is a common problem.
Lower back pain affects at least 80% of us some time in our lives. That’s four out of FIVE of us! And planks are an excellent exercise for back pain. When planking, you strengthen your deeper abdominal muscles, and it will also recruit the hips. Often times, people experience back pain because their abs are weak and their lower back has to pick up the slack. By strengthening your abs, you are building a strong core that will ultimately help your lower back by keeping the load off of it.
Too much movement can also aggravate lower back pain, so planks are a good exercise for those people. The plank requires minimal movement while contracting your abs. Win-win.
4. It requires NO equipment.
Plank anywhere. Any time. Nuff said.
5. There are tons of variations!
You won’t get tired of some simple move. Here are just a few of my favorite plank options:
- Plank with leg lift
- Bridge to plank
- Side plank
- Plank pull thru
- Suspended plank with tuck
Challenge Time: Build Your Core Strength
Shall we do a plank challenge?! First, check out this great information on the anatomy of a perfect plank.
Then, try a plank for yourself and see how long you can hold it without compromising your form.
After that, plank every day for a month when you wake up, and time yourself each time. At the end of four weeks, you should be able to plank so long that you’ll be able to binge on your Netflix app to pass the time while you do it! 🙂