Why every woman should add planks to their workout

Benefits of Planking

Why every woman should add planks to their workouts

Many women ignore one of the best core-developing exercises from their workouts - planks. They tend to lean toward the tried and true crunch, or even sit-ups (FYI – leave sit-ups out of your exercise catalog. They are bad for the back and can even cause injury.) Or, maybe it just doesn’t look like it is an effective exercise since there is very little movement.

However, planks are probably the best overall core-developing, ab-ripping, six-pack-adding exercise available. Not only do they give your core a full workout, they can be done anytime, anywhere in as little as 5 minutes. Read further for the benefits of planks and why every woman should add it their workouts.

Benefits of Planks

  1. They engage all major core muscle groups
    Crunches work the rectus abdominus (also known as the six-pack muscles in the front), the obliques on the side of your body, and the transversus abdominis, which lies beneath the internal oblique muscle. Planks, on the other hand, work not only these muscles, but also the glutes (for that firm butt), hips, back, shoulders, and biceps. It’s a near full body workout within itself.
  2. Improves flexibility
    While you are performing a plank, you are stretching your hamstrings, feet, and sides (when performing side planks.) All this stretching leads to a more flexible body.
  3. Improve posture
    If you have a desk job, you have probably noticed that your posture has worsened through prolonged sitting. Planks engage the back, neck, and shoulders, therefore building muscle and increasing strength. These stronger muscles will help improve your posture.
  4. Improves your mood
    If you exercise regularly, you are already aware that it helps improve your mood and reduce stress levels. Planks are no different from any other form of exercise. Just 5 to 10 minutes each day will keep you in good spirits all day
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  5. Strengthens back muscles, relieving back pain and decreasing spinal injury risk
    As mentioned earlier, planks strengthen your back muscles when performed properly. This increased muscle strength will help alleviate back pain and decrease your risk of spinal injury while performing other exercises.Some people complain of planks causing lower back pain. If you have not performed planks, initially you may experience some lower back pain. The back muscles are no different from any other muscle. Remember when you first starting performing dips and how sore your triceps were the first few days? Well, the back muscles are just like your triceps. You may experience some soreness initially, but as you continue doing planks, the pain should subside. If it continues you may not be performing planks correctly.
  6. Increased metabolism
    When you perform planks you work your entire body. Unlike performing isolation exercises (curls, dips, extensions), which only work one or two muscle groups, planks work many muscle groups. As these muscles are engaged, your metabolism will soar, effectively burning calories for hours afterward.

Proper Way to Plank

  1. Get into a pushup position, but instead of resting on your hands, rest your body on your elbows. Make sure the elbows are bent 90 degrees, directly below your shoulders.
  2. Push your body off the floor so only your toes and forearms are touching the floor.
  3. Make sure your spine is aligned in a straight line.
  4. Push your stomach in toward your spine and squeeze your buttocks.
  5. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds
  6. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat

Types of Planks

Basic Plank

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Side Plank

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Knee Plank - if the basic plank is too difficult, start with this variation

Planks with Shoulder Taps

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Walking Planks

 

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