If you’re looking to build a strong and stable core, then there’s nothing quite like a good plank. Though many people might spend ages completing all manors of reps upon reps of sit-ups, the humble plank actually trumps all when it comes to core work.
The biggest benefit of the plank is that it involves your entire body. Whilst many other core exercise specifically target the abdominal or back muscles, the plank teaches you how to use your body as a unit, creating balance and stability beyond just your midsection. This skill transfers over to everyday life far more than just crunching, and can help reduce your risk of injury from common movements and other exercise in the gym. Not to mention, they’ll help to improve your posture by teaching you how to keep a straight back and strengthening the muscles involved in protecting the spine.
Secondly, the plank is incredibly versatile as there’s always a way to increase the difficulty to create a different stimulus. For instance, by extending your arms further overhead, the movement suddenly becomes a lot more taxing. You can also take one arm or leg off the ground to challenge your balance further or widen your stance to make the movement easier. You can even go upon your side to hit the muscles from another angle or go into a reverse plank. Because of this versatility, it makes for an excellent movement for high intensity interval training routines to burn a large amount of calories for fat loss. You can do it for time or complete reps by lifting your arms up or switching between side planks.
Lastly, the plank requires little to no equipment. Though you can use weights or combine it with other movements to increase the difficulty of the exercise, there’s no necessity for any other equipment whatsoever. This means that you can always get in a good workout no matter where you are.
You’ll often hear the squat crowned as the king of all lower body exercises and the push-up trumps everything else for the upper body. Well, the plank is the same for the core. Nothing can quite compare to its full-body stimulus and accessibility. No matter where you are or what your fitness level is, there’s a variation on the plank that will work for your goals and your body. If you’re not planking, then you’re missing out on a vital exercise that will help you with both your fitness performance and overall health.