Did you know that the plank is thought to be one of the best forms of exercise? Sure, it leaves many of us a sweaty mess on the floor, but it helps to work our entire body at once. It might be time to learn how to do a perfect plank to get the most from your workout.
Keep things tight
Doing a plank is a great way to work your entire body at once. One of the main groups of muscles that are worked are your core muscles. This means that it’s important to keep your stomach muscles tight to hold yourself still. To top it off, using all of your energy to keep the muscles in your legs and arms tight will help them to grow stronger, too.
Remember to breathe
This might sound like an easy one, but it’s amazing how many people forget to breathe when they are doing a plank! Holding your breath can lead your heart rate to increase and cause more damage in the long run. Plus, breathing deeply means that your body will have more oxygen, and therefore, your muscles will have more fuel to help hold the pose for as long as possible.
Keep a straight back
This goes hand in hand with keeping your tummy muscles tight. Making sure that you’re back is nice and straight will work your core muscles in all the right ways. Believe it or not, but planking every day can actually help to eliminate many causes of back pain. This is because our muscles are stronger, meaning we often have improved balance and posture in the rest of our daily life.
Add in variations
While the middle of our body remains the same in most variations of the plank, there are different ways that you can work your arms depending on the results you want to get from the plank. A standard plank sees people on the palm of their hands that are placed slightly wider than their shoulders. Another option is the forearm plank that has your arms parallel with your body about shoulder-width apart.
Make things harder
If you want to kick your workout up a notch, then it could be time to add in one of many variations of the plank. One alternative is to lift one arm up toward the sky and twist your body into a side plank to work your obliques. Another option? The medicine ball plank that means you need to balance while holding the pose. Finally, the single-arm or single-leg plank sees people lift one of their limbs into the air, so the rest of their body works even harder
Make things easier
Not all of us want to push our body to the limits with every workout. After all, it might have been many months since we last got moving. Our muscles might need some time to adjust. One way to make the plank a little easier is to perform a kneeling plank. People still need to keep their backs straight and their tummies pulled tight, but rather than being in a full plank, you keep your knees on the floor. This can be a great way to put less pressure on your lower back.
The plank is an excellent form of exercise for just about everyone. As well as getting an all-body workout, it might not be long before you find toned muscles in places that you never knew you had – all thanks to one move!