The best exercise I do in any of my training programs only takes a minute.
Granted, it is often the longest and most gruelling 60 seconds of my life. I sweat, I shake, and I often collapse in relief when it’s over. But spending quality time in a plank pose always pays off.
The plank pose is where you hold a push-up position while resting on your forearms. This simple move is the ideal exercise for strengthening crucial core muscles. As you go about your day, almost every move you make revolves around your core — from picking up items on the floor to twisting to see if the coast is clear when driving.
Why is it important to have a strong core?
Your core is made up of several muscle groups and covers your abdominals, back, hips, pelvis, and buttocks. A weak core can cause all kinds of problems. It can lead to poor posture, and inevitably to neck and shoulder pain. Sore knees and hips often can be traced to a weak core.
But the biggest issue with core weakness is pain lower Back muscles and your core help to stabilize your body before any movement. If your core is weak, the other surrounding muscles must compensate. Over time, these muscles can suffer strain, which leads to lingering pain.
More Planks and Less sit-up
The standard sit-up is often the go-to core strengthened, but it has limits. “It only targets a portion of the core musculature, and the bending-forward motion can strain the neck and lower back,”
By comparison, the plank pose activates all the core muscles at once and doesn’t require extra movements that can cause stress or injury. “And because it has many modifications, it can be done by almost anyone, regardless of current fitness level,”
How long should you hold a plank?
The world record for holding a plank is more than four hours, but thankfully, you don’t need to devote that much time. Most experts suggest anywhere from 10 up to 30 seconds is plenty. “Focus on doing multiple sets of smaller amounts of time
As you progress, you can extend your plank for up to one or even two minutes, but don’t go beyond that. “Two minutes is often considered the maximum, and you don’t get much more benefit after that.
How often should you do planks?
You can perform a plank every day, on alternate days, or simply as part of your regular workouts. (I personal add plank in my routines every training days with different progressions and regressions.)
This blog is updated by Tranquillity 360 fitness personal trainers, as well as other guest bloggers.