The world of workouts is populated by numerous fads, training routines and cardio movements. Amidst all these, one particular trend that has caught the fancy of both exercise novices and fitness freaks in recent times, gaining even more recognition during the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns, total closure of gyms, is the plank workout.
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A terrific physical activity that bolsters core strength, a plank involves staying balanced and holding the body in the raised pose of a push-up, keeping the forearm and leg muscles straight and intact, for an extended period of time. The plank workout is quite simple to perform, being fairly easy to master with some regular practice, even for beginners.
Contrary to the general notion that planking surfaced pretty recently as a fitness trend, the highly beneficial exercise has been practised since the past several decades. The plank exercise was introduced initially by Joseph Pilates, a renowned German physical trainer and the founder of the Pilates exercise regime, as a muscle fortifying exercise, which he termed leg pull front. Over time, it came to be known as the plank, since the pose in which the person stays in, resembles a flat floorboard or piece of wood.
Doing plank exercises is one of the best ways to build core muscle strength, enhance flexibility and maintain a fit and fabulous body. The plank is indeed a fundamental workout, that requires no elaborate gym equipment, treadmill, weights, dumbbells, which can be easily done right at home. Read on, to find out the technique to perform a basic plank workout, plus its countless fantastic merits for improved physical health.
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How To Do A Plank:
One of the great advantages of the plank workout is the sheer number of variations in which it can be performed, such as the high plank, extended plank, low plank, side plank and knee plank, to name a few. Nevertheless, to start with, knowing how to perform a classic forearm plank is the ideal way to accustom the body to this intensive calorie-burning workout. All you need is a wide, even surface on the floor and a comfortable yoga mat. The steps involved in carrying out a plank are as follows:
At first, place your hands beside your shoulder, with arms, elbows bent and feet flat on the ground, lying down on your stomach.
Slowly raise your torso off the ground up to a comfortable height, keeping the back straight and lifting the forearms, toes to support your body weight.
Balance yourself in this position initially for 10 seconds, then gradually increase the holding time in the raised position to 30, 45 and 60 seconds.
Keep your head facing downwards throughout and ensure it does not droop, while maintaining a stable, upright pose of shoulders and neck.
Perform 3 sets of planks daily i.e. lifting the body, holding for 60 seconds and lowering it, iterating thrice and resting for 1 minute between each repetition.
Superb Health Benefits Of Plank Exercises:
Stimulates Various Muscle Groups
While doing a plank, all the major muscle groups in the body, right from the shoulders, to the forearm, abdominal and leg, are stretched, thereby keeping the connective tissues active and vigorous. Thus, doing planks every day vastly assists in developing a robust core, with toned muscles in the waist, hips, thigh, abdomen, pelvic floor, back and buttocks.
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Amplifies Body Flexibility
Stiff muscles and rather rigid bones, joints invariably lead to frequent sprains, strains and cramps of the mobile tissues in the system, restricting the capability of the body to move and expand smoothly. Planks are a wonderful way to involve the forearm, shoulder, neck, collarbone and hamstring thigh muscles, extending them dynamically and promoting overall suppleness in the body.
Guarantees Better Posture
A proper and erect body posture has immense benefits for total healthcare. It aids in precisely aligning the bones, joints, while assuring the ability of muscles to perform better. Engaging in an intense plank workout regularly confers a tremendous positive impact to the complete poise, balance and bearing of the body.
Effectively Burns Excess Fat
Incorporating planks as part of the routine workout helps to significantly get rid of surplus body mass, particularly the very harmful visceral fat, commonly known as belly fat, in the region of the stomach. Planks, when retained for a longer span of time and performed every day, offer noteworthy merits for slimming down, losing tummy weight, bolstering metabolism, infusing high energy levels, endurance and stamina to the body.
Lowers Chances Of Injuries
Unlike crunches or weights, plank exercises do not impose abundant amounts of pressure on the hips, legs and back. Hence, engaging in a plank workout session daily reinforces core muscle power, provides ample force and drive for the upper back area, lower back vicinities and decreases the possibility of spinal cord injuries.