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Planks: The Golden Benefits And Right Technique

Planks are the best isometric exercise to target your abdominal muscles. Adding this exercise to your workout plan is important to build strong and well defined muscles.

Planks helps in delivering you a strong core which improves your posture and stability. A strong core not only makes you look attractive but also helps in doing daily activities more easily. For athletes, core strength is a priority as their performance depends upon it.

Planks targets your overall body muscles, primarily your core. Targeting multiple muscle groups helps in boosting your metabolism and burning a large number of calories. Planks also improves your muscle definition and gives you proper six-pack abs.

The popularity of plank has increased a lot due to its simplicity and results. The age group for this exercise is so wide that mostly everyone performs it. It is also used as a core strength and stability test for athletes.

How To Perform Planks

1. Start this exercise by getting in a push-up position. Keep your back straight and feet apart. Bend your elbows and balance your body on your forearms. You can also perform this exercise on your hands to make it easier. Your forearms should be shoulder-width apart. Relax your neck and look in front.

2. Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line. Don’t lock or hyperextend your knees as it can cause injury. Maintain your breathing as it helps in contracting your abdominal muscles. Hold the position for 30-45 seconds if you’re a beginner. If you have performed this exercise before then try to hold your body off the ground for at least a minute.

3. This is one set of plank exercise. Do 3-4 sets and try to hold the position for at least a minute.

Benefits

1. It improves your balance and posture which reduces the chance of lower back injuries. Mastering balance is important not only for athletes but also in daily life activities.

2. It boosts your metabolism and burns a large number of calories resulting in weight loss. A higher rate of metabolism helps in faster digestion and also stops your body from storing excess fat.

3. It primarily focus on your rectus abdominal, transverse abdominal, internal, and external oblique muscles. Plank also works for other muscle groups like your back, shoulders, and legs.

4. It’s a bodyweight exercise therefore it doesn’t require any equipment and can be performed anywhere. When idol, you can do a minute of the plank at your home or a nearby park according to your comfort.

5. It’s an isometric exercise so no movement is required which makes this exercise accessible for mostly all age groups.

Variations

1. Knee Plank

This plank variation is easier to hold and is commonly performed by beginners to improve their form and hold for the standard plank exercise. Resting your body on your knees puts less stress on your lower back and arms.

2. Side Plank

Side plank is a variation of the standard plank exercise that primarily targets your oblique muscles. This exercise trains your oblique muscles better than the standard exercise. Side plank is performed by balancing your body on one arm which makes this exercise a challenge to balance your body. It is also one of the best exercises to challenge your core strength and endurance.

3. Single Leg Plank

Single leg plank is a harder variation as it removes one point of contact from the ground which increases stress on your core. To perform this exercise, get into a standard plank position. Raise one leg above the ground without stressing your lower back. Switch legs after completing one set.

4. Medicine Ball Plank

This variation requires a medicine ball which can be easily available in a store or gym. Adding an unstable medicine ball to the plank makes your body harder to balance and challenges your core strength. The procedure to do this exercise is similar to the standard plank, but instead place your hands on the ball, under your shoulders.

5. Single Arm Plank

Another way to make the basic plank more challenging is to lift one arm off the ground and balance your body on a single forearm. The single-arm plank is a lot similar to the single-leg plank as the only difference is of removing a different point of contact. To perform this exercise, start in a standard plank position. Lift one arm off the ground and extend it in front. Keep your shoulders down and body straight. Switch arms as you complete one set.

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