Planking has been all the rage, even making it to pinterest for its 5 minute, 30 day plank challenge fame. Studies reveal that planks activate more of the six pack muscles than crunches. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that planks cause 100 percent activation of the rectus abdominus muscles, where crunches only activate 64 percent. It’s no doubt that the plank challenges the core, which is essential for performance enhancement. However, if not performed correctly, it can be detrimental to your health, even causing injury. Learn how to properly perform the plank and variations of it in order to receive the ultimate benefit of this strategic exercise!
Originally referred to as the kumbhakasana in Sanskrit, the plank pose is a stand-alone exercise to build core, arm, and back strength. Practicing regularly will improve posture. To perform, get on the floor on all fours. Place hands directly under shoulders on the floor and stretch heels out behind you with top of foot facing the floor. Keep stomach tight and tucked in, be sure your back doesn’t sway. Feet should be hip-width apart, and body should be in a straight line from head to heels. You can also perform this with forearms resting on the floor and receive same benefit.
Start in plank position. Rotate body so left hand is toward the ceiling, with left leg stacked on top of right leg. Press torso up and away from floor. Tighten abs and hold for 60 seconds. Repeat on other side.
Plank with Arm and Leg Lift
This move targets the upper back, chest, sides, core and glutes. When in plank position, extend left arm out to side and right leg upward. Hold for a few seconds and alternate arm and leg.
This exercises engages your abs even more and gives you cardio at the same time. Begin in traditional plank position, hands under shoulders and feet hip width apart. Begin by jumping feet out into a jumping jack position, keeping hands and upper body still.
For more specific exercises, contact a personal trainer at Franklin Athletic Club today. Franklin Athletic is a full service health club offering a wide range of state of the art equipment, programs, and services to keep you motivated. Reach your fitness goals and grab hold of a better life today!