Plank, all the benefits and how to correctly perform the most famous abdominal exercise that allows you to reduce the belly and keep other parts of the body in shape with 5 minutes a day.
It has now become popular around the world for four main reasons:
- it is very effective;
- it is performed free-body, without any specific tool
- it can be practiced anywhere;
- it only takes 5 minutes a day to run it and enjoy the results.
But what are the muscles that are involved with the plank, beyond the abs? The muscles of the back, legs, hips, buttocks, shoulders and chest. By toning the muscle groups, the plank helps improve posture by preventing and counteracting various pathologies linked to it.
Benefits of plank
- More toned buttocks : by stimulating the buttocks and biceps, you will notice a firming of the posterior and a reduction of cellulite.
- Stronger back : thanks to toning exercises, the back is strengthened and also ensures better support for the upper body. The risk of back and spine injuries is significantly reduced.
- Flat stomach: the abdomen is the part of the body that is most stressed by the plank. In fact, training allows the abdominal muscles to work perfectly: upper, lower and lateral.
- Better elasticity : planking exercises by lengthening all the muscle groups allow for greater elasticity.
- More toned legs: the plank tones all the muscles, including those of the legs (thighs and calves).
- Correct posture : by strengthening your back muscles, you will also increase your ability to stay upright with a straight and stable posture.
- Greater balance: improving your posture will obviously improve your balance. This benefit is fundamental because it allows you to improve performance in all types of sports.
- Increased metabolism: by involving the muscles of almost the whole body, more calories will be burned than traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The daily performance of the exercises allows not only to increase the metabolism but also to keep it on high levels.
- Reduced muscle stress : while sitting all day (at home or at work), the leg muscles contract and the shoulders become tense because of the “hunchbacked” position that we assume during the day. The plank is excellent for relaxing and relaxing the muscle groups.
To perform a perfect plank it is necessary to follow the following rules:
- Lie down facing the abdomen towards the ground.
- Bend your elbows 90 ° by aligning them perpendicularly to your shoulders. Alternatively, you can also keep your arms straight but always perpendicular to the shoulders.
- The body must form a straight line (from head to heels). You will only have to lean on your forearms or hands and on your toes.
- The head and neck should remain straight, without stretching them forward or bending them.
- The abdominal muscles and the buttocks must always remain contracted until the exercise is finished.
- The legs must be perfectly straight and slightly apart, without bending the knees.
- Watch the video below for a very detailed guide on how to perform plank exercises perfectly:
Tips for proper execution
In order for the plank to be effective it is essential to maintain the position for a few seconds or minutes (advanced level). Learn to listen to your body, do not try to resist beyond the limit of endurance. The secret is in fact to acquire resistance gradually without experiencing pain or any other type of malaise.
Beginner level: Start by holding the position for 10-15 seconds with each set. Perform 3 total sets with a 2 minute break between each.
Intermediate level: Hold the position for 30-40 seconds with each series. Perform 3 total sets with a 2 minute break.
Advanced level: Hold the position for 1-2 minutes of each series. Perform 5 total sets with a 2 minute break.
Mistakes to avoid
Performing the workout the wrong way increases the risk of causing damage to your back or some other part of the body. It is not important how long you can hold the position but how long you can stay still while maintaining the correct position.
Here are the most common mistakes to avoid:
- Basin too high or too low. The back must be straight as a board (“plank” in English means “board”). The hips must remain in axis (not inclined) and the buttocks (contracted) must remain in line with the back.
- Shoulders not in line with the arms . If your elbows or arms are not aligned with your shoulders, you will lose your balance by taking incorrect positions throughout the exercise.
- Dangling head and neck . Tilting your head down will have tension problems in the upper back and shoulders. Instead, stretching the head upwards will create significant pressure on the cervical . With your eyes try to fix your hands on the ground.
- Sagging or arching of the shoulders. The shoulders must be rigid, as well as the abdomen, because the sagging or curving go to unload or press on the vertebral column.
Watch the tutorial to avoid making mistakes while performing the plank so as to get the most benefit from this workout: