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
- 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.
- 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.
- Improves 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Push your body off the floor so only your toes and forearms are touching the floor.
- Make sure your spine is aligned in a straight line.
- Push your stomach in toward your spine and squeeze your buttocks.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds
- Rest for 30 seconds and repeat
Types of Planks
How to Do a Perfect Side Plank | Abs WorkoutAb Workout for Women! Sexy Six-Pack Playlist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJQ-AV3HRBo&list=PLLALQuK1NDrh-WzJhsFQ_j9o-cUdspF3E
So I'm going to demonstrate how to do a side plank. So there are a couple ways you can do a side plank. I'm going to start with the basic, I wouldn't say regression but, this is good for beginners. Number one your elbow has to be completely under your shoulder. You want to make sure your alignment is always intact.
Your elbow should be right under your shoulder. Okay you're keeping your arms flat like this, your hand flat like this. Now, for a beginner you can keep your knees on the ground, you can stack your legs like so and you're going to lift from your hips. You can either keep your hand on your hip like this, or you can raise your arm up to the sky. Now, this can be challenging for a lot of people, this alone. You want to make sure you squeezing from your glutes. You want to make sure that hips are going up to the sky as much as you can, as if somebody had a string around your hips and they were pulling you up. Now, you're going to hold this for 30 seconds or one minute. If you find that to be too easy you can go into a normal side plank. Couple of ways you can do this.
Again, your shoulder under your elbow or your elbow under your shoulder, feet stacked and you can lift from here, your hand can stay on your hip or you can put your arm up like that. Again, you want to make sure that your hips are going up to the sky you're very active in this. I don't want to see you down here like this. Your hips should be up the whole time your squeezing your glutes. If you want you can also do it as you would in yoga on your hand.
This is just more shoulder and leaning on your forearm is more core. Now, an even more harder version, more difficult version would be to go back to your forearms come up, you can do variations with your arms to make this more challenging. So you could reach underneath you, come back up, reach underneath you, come back up let's stay for ten reps. You can come up and down with your hips or you could do something called a starfish side plank, and hold that guy. And, that's how you do a side plank.
Knee Plank - if the basic plank is too difficult, start with this variation
Planks with Shoulder Taps
How to Do a Plank Tap | Plyometric ExercisesFull Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLALQuK1NDrjWd5UG8on0sBE_mYLu4hw0
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Hey, I'm Pauline and I'm back with another great exercise called plank taps. Now there are so many different variations with this movement. I'm going to show you a few. Okay, I'm going to start with the beginner and again, this is great for stability and your entire core. So that means your hip flexors, your abs, inner and outer, your back, and of course your glutes, hams, and quads.
So what you're going to do is come down on your hands and knees and this again, this is for beginners. So if you're just starting into your routine, exercise routine, this is for you. What you're going to do is go from one side to the other tapping on your shoulder, okay? This is going to create stability. So you're forcing yourself by keeping your abs in tight and keeping your body from swaying, so you're able to tap from one side to the other.
What I would do is I would start from anywhere from 10 to 15 and then rest, and then do it again. Now the advanced version you would have to come off your knees, so you really need to focus on keeping your abs tight and your back and glutes and everything else tight. So again, come on to your hands, off your knees, a couple of things here. So if you challenge yourself, you can put your feet together and tap. Tap, tap, tap.
So what's happening is I'm really forcing myself not to sway too much. So this is more challenging than spreading your feet shoulder width apart. So shoulder's apart, breathe out, tap. 10 to 12, 10 to 15, when you get really good go up to 20 or do 30 seconds at a time. Okay, I'm going to add another element. I'm going to tap, instead of tapping on my shoulder, I'm going to tap on my knee.
Now I'm making it a lot more advanced and so you really have to focus on keeping everything tight. So abs in tight, that means to stick your navel and put it towards your spine. Stable yourself up top, tap, tap. Opposite knee, opposite hand, okay? So I'm going to make it a lot harder. So if you want a really great total body workout what you're going to do is now add everything together. So you're going to go off your knee, add tap, tap, tap, tap. Shoulder, shoulder, knee, knee, okay? And that is how you do your plank tap.