Building A Strong Core Through Plank Exercises
Many people think the only reason they should work their core is to look good. What is overlooked is the fact that a strong core helps avoid injury, back pain and even should soreness by improving your posture. Another problem people have while working the core is they think it’s boring. No one likes a workout of the same old sit ups and crunches. Today you can find many videos on core workouts that offer a variety of different exercises to keep things fun but the one thing that many of these videos fail to show is plank exercises. Think about it, when’s the last time you saw a personal trainer in your gym showing his client proper plank techniques? This is not a slight on personal trainers as they do a great job just getting people to break a sweat but too many are over looking these great core exercises, until now.
You Can Do Plank Exercises Even If Your Just Starting To Workout
If you are just getting into or back into exercising, core workouts are a great place to begin for all the health reasons stated above plus you can do them anywhere with little equipment. In fact, if you have a mat you can do plank exercises outdoors in a favorite place, maybe even take a few extra minutes to meditate. The most important and easiest thing to do when starting planks is to set goals. When you first start doing your plank exercises, time how long you can hold the plank. Try to add to each exercise every week. If you can hold for 20 seconds, go to 30, 30 to 40 etc.. until you can get to holding each for 5 minutes. Trust me this will keep you busy for years. Here are my favorite plank exercises and how to do them.
Elbow (Classic) Plank
Remember to time your hold time! All cell phones have timers now which makes it super easy. Be sure to log your time in your phone so you can add to your hold times each week. Assume a push up position. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, your weight resting on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can.
Lie on your left side, in a straight line, legs straight, resting on your forearm. Your elbow should be under your shoulder. Lightly contract your abdominals then lift your hips off the floor, maintaining the line. Keep your hips square and your neck in line with your spine. Hold as long as possible, then lower. Repeat two to three times, then switch to your other side.
Bird Dog Plank
Begin in a push up position, arms extended, hands directly under your shoulders. Slowly lift your opposite arm and leg out until they are parallel to the floor. If this is too difficult to balance at first, bring the opposite knee to the floor, then extend out with opposite leg. Hold a moment at the top. Return and repeat, alternating sides.
There are numerous different types of plank exercises however mastering these 3 first will get you well on your way to a strong core. Remember, the goal is to be able to hold each pose 2 minutes.
What are your favorite plank exercises? Comment below.