Planking is the exercise of choice for many looking to get toned abs and a flat stomach. It may look simple, but when done correctly, this full-body workout can provide a great challenge to anyone looking to up their fitness game. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the basics of planking—from proper form and technique to which muscles are used and even how long you should plank for. We’ll also explore different variations on this classic exercise that can not only help you target different muscle groups but also make the move more interesting!
What is planking?
Planking is an exercise that primarily targets the abs and obliques. To do a plank, get into a push-up position, but rest on your forearms instead of your hands. Keep your back straight and hold this position for as long as you can.
There are many variations of the plank exercise that you can do to target different muscle groups or make the exercise more challenging. For example, you can raise one leg off the ground while planking to target your glutes and hamstrings more. You can also put your hands on an elevated surface to make the exercise harder.
The benefits of planking
When it comes to working your abs, there are a lot of different exercises that you can do. But if you really want to get those six-pack abs that everyone covets, then you need to start doing some planking.
Planking is a great way to target your entire core, including your obliques and lower back. And while it may not be the most exciting exercise in the world, it is incredibly effective.
Here are just a few of the benefits that you can expect from adding planking to your workout routine:
- Improved Posture
If you spend a lot of time hunched over at a desk or computer, then you probably have some pretty bad posture. This can lead to all sorts of problems, including back pain and neck pain.
But by strengthening your core muscles with planking, you can improve your posture and stand tall with confidence.
- Reduced Risk of Injury
Having a strong core will also help to protect your spine and other bones and joints from injury. This is especially important if you participate in any high-impact activities like running or contact sports.
How to do a proper plank
When it comes to working your abs, there is no move more effective than the plank. The plank works all of the muscles in your core, including your rectus abdominis (the “six-pack” muscles), obliques, and transverse abdominis (the deepest layer of abdominal muscle).
To do a proper plank, start by getting into a push-up position. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, and your feet should be hip-width apart. Lower yourself down so that your elbows are bent at 90 degrees, and your forearms are resting on the ground. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.
Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute. If you need to take a break, lower yourself down to your knees and rest for a few seconds before getting back up into the plank position. Remember to keep your core engaged the entire time.
Different variations of the plank exercise
There are many different variations of the plank exercise that you can do to target different muscle groups and areas of your body. Here are some of the most popular variations:
Standard Plank: This is the most basic variation of the plank exercise and works all of the major muscles in your core. To do this exercise, simply get into a push-up position with your hands on the ground and your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, hold yourself up in this position for as long as you can.
Side Plank: This variation of the plank exercise targets your obliques (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen). To do this exercise, start in a standard push-up position. Then, rotate your body so that one hand is touching the ground and the other is in the air. Hold yourself in this side plank position for 30 seconds or more before switching sides.
Reverse Plank: This variation of the plank exercise works all of the muscles in your back and shoulders. To do this exercise, sit on the ground with your legs extended straight out in front of you and your palms flat on the ground behind you. Then, press down into your palms and lift your hips off the ground so that your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Hold this reverse plank position for 30 seconds or more before lowering yourself back down to the ground.
Plank with Leg Raise: This variation of the plank
How often should you plank?
When it comes to planking, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The frequency with which you plank will depend on your individual goals and fitness level. However, most experts recommend that beginners start with two or three sets of 30-second planks three times per week. As you become more comfortable and confident with the move, you can gradually increase the duration and number of sets. For example, you might aim for four sets of 60-second planks four times per week. Ultimately, the best way to determine how often to plank is to listen to your body and go at a pace that feels challenging but manageable.
Planking is a great exercise for strengthening the core muscles and building up abdominal strength. With its low-impact nature, anyone can participate in planking regardless of their fitness level or age. Having strong abs not only looks good but also helps to improve overall posture, balance, and stability. If you are looking for an effective way to build your ab muscles, then start incorporating planking into your workout routine today!