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woman demonstrating how to perform the plank exercise

Assessing Your Ab Workout

When you think about training your core muscles, exercises like crunches and sit ups probably spring to mind. However, the plank is a much better and more effective means of working out your core. That’s because crunches and sit ups focus mainly on your abs while planking allows you to access all of the muscles of your core with just one exercise.

The reality is that your core muscles are a far larger group of muscles than just those that are typically thought of as the “abs.” Your core muscles include groups along the side, front and back of your body. They include your glutes and even the muscles of the hips. Fitness trainers, chiropractors and doctors have all described the core muscles as being like a “corset” because they hold in and support all of your vital organs. Just as importantly, the core muscles are what supports the spine.

Your spine is amazing in its ability to twist, bend and move in virtually every direction. However, without the core muscles, it has no support, which means that it would be wobbling around in every direction. In fact, a lack of core strength is why so many people suffer from back pain. When the spine doesn’t get adequate support from the core muscles, it’s put under constant strain. It gets pulled out of alignment, and when you add sitting too much and using poor posture into the mix, it’s a recipe for disaster.

That’s where the plank comes in. Love it or hate it, the plank is the master when it comes to building core strength in a safe and effective manner. Done properly, the plank increases core strength, and that can mean a number of health benefits.

Health Benefit of Planking #1

Most people who plank every day or at least on most days experience far less back pain. That’s because their core muscles are strong enough to give the spine adequate support. As the strength of the muscles along the front, side and back of your torso become stronger, you’re likely to see that your posture improves. Whether you’re sitting or standing, maintaining better spine alignment will mean less back pain. Plus, there’s the added benefit of activating all of those core muscles as you maintain proper posture. You’ll be burning more calories even while you’re not doing much of anything.

Health Benefit of Planking #2

People who plank on a regular basis also tend to see an improvement in their balance. When those core muscles gain strength, they give you the support you need to maintain balance even when you’re standing precariously on one foot. Planking can additionally improve your mental and emotional state. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise lessens the symptoms of anxiety and depression. An ongoing program of physical activity that involves planks in every workout may soon improve your outlook on the world.

It’s hard to imagine that such a simple exercise could have so many benefits. From the physical to the mental, you’re likely to start feeling better once you’re planking every day. Of course, it’s essential that you plank correctly. Otherwise, you risk an injury or you simply won’t reap all of the possible benefits.

If you’d like to more about how to do a proper plank, then contact My House Fitness. Thanks to the endless variations you can try with planking, like simply raising an arm or a leg, you’ll never get bored, and you’ll never run out of new ways to challenge yourself.

How To Do A Proper Plank