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Benefits Of Doing The Plank Exercise Every Day

By Deesha Jain +2 more

The deadly COVID has put a stop to the way we go about our daily routine, may it be going to the office, school or going out for a jog. Well, this is the right time we all need to move out of our comfort zones and try a different approach to stay healthy.

Benefits Of Doing The Plank Exercise Every Day

Remember, a healthy exercise schedule can prevent you from risks of developing heart diseases, diabetes and many more. It can also help you manage these conditions better. For instance, exercises for diabetes can help lower blood sugar levels and avoid further complications. One of the best exercises to include in your exercise routine would be a plank. What is a plank exercise? How will this be beneficial during the pandemic and how to perform one are questions that this article will answer.

Did You Know ?

  • Plank exercises increase muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, and cardiopulmonary fitness. source:NCBI
  • Plank exercises decrease body fat mass and body fat percentage. source: NCBI
  • Plank exercises can help improve overall body balance and stability. source: acefitness.org
  • Plank exercises can help reduce the risk of falls and improve balance in older adults. source: nia.nih.gov

What is Plank Exercise?

A plank exercise is the best exercise to strengthen your core and abdomen. These exercises strengthen your hips, lower back and abdomen and improve your body balance. It is used in yoga, by professional boxers and sports like hockey, cricket and football.

  • In yoga, the plank is a part of the sun salutations, some hot yoga routines, as well as some forms of cardio-centric yoga practices. It is known as the kumbhakasana in yoga and is usually a pose that is either held for a few minutes or used as a transition to link two different yoga poses.
  • In boxing and other martial arts training, the plank is an important transitional pose that is used in between sets of pushups and crunches. It helps to strengthen the core abdominal muscles which is a part of the body that needs to have high endurance for martial artists and boxers.
  • Sportspersons like football and hockey players also use the plank pose to strengthen their core. It provides them with overall balance, strength, and coordination during their game.

Benefits of Plank Exercise

The number of calories you would burn depends on how many minutes you perform a plank exercise daily. For instance, a person weighing 65 kgs would burn 3 calories every minute doing a plank. Here is what your body could benefit from plank exercising.

1. Improves body balance and posture:

Apart from muscle growth and endurance, a plank can also help achieve better body balance, posture, as well as coordination. The reason the plank is considered a fundamental part of an exercise routine is because of this. With great balance, you are less susceptible to incurring injuries to single muscle groups during your workout.

2. Strengthens your core:

The core of your body consists of the spine, shoulder bones, pelvis and joints. With a strong core, you will be able to better perform certain exercises. The 4 most important muscle groups (transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, oblique muscles, and glutes) that constitute your core are strengthened with the help of the plank exercise.

3. Improves body flexibility:

Practicing the plank pose daily can help to stretch your core muscle groups mentioned earlier. This has a lot of benefits especially for those who engage in yoga.

Reduces belly fat:

Since the plank pose mainly works your core abdominal muscles, it is a great exercise to get rid of stubborn belly fat. Holding a plank for a few minutes each day can alone help to trump down belly fat and provide an appealing shape to your body.

4. Reduces backache:

The plank posture helps to perfectly align the vertebrae (small bones) in the backbone. This can help alleviate back pain and even delay the onset of or prevent back pain in old age. Moreover, since this pose strengthens your abdominal muscles, it will help support the weight of your body when walking upright. This will further help to prevent back pain.

5. Improves metabolism:

This pose helps to build abdominal muscles and in many cases even boosts the development of muscles in other parts of the body (due to added core strength). With more muscle mass, you will burn more calories and this will regulate a healthy appetite. Therefore, the plank pose if practised daily can help to improve metabolism as well.

The plank exercise is a type of isometric exercise. Isometric exercises are mainly performed to improve strength. These exercises don’t need movement and can be done in one place. As there is no movement involved, it will provide strength in a certain position only. Therefore, isometric exercises like plank can be done during injuries. Athletes who want to build strength are advised to practice planks.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Variations of the Plank Exercise

There are many variations of this all-around exercise and each of them provides a unique set of benefits for your body.

1. Front, side, and reverse planks: 2

The front plank is a rather simple form of this exercise and promotes strengthening of the upper as well as lower body. The side plank, on the other hand, helps to strengthen the oblique abdominal muscles. This can be beneficial in reducing fat on your waist. However, a reverse plank is a slightly uncommon variation of this popular exercise pose. It is, as the name suggests, a reverse of the original position and helps to strengthen your hip muscles (glutes) and inner thigh muscles (hamstrings).

2. The 2-minute plank test:

This is the traditional posture of the plank but the difference is that you will need to hold this posture for 2 whole minutes. For people who regularly workout, this may not seem very significant, but for beginners, these 2 minutes could seem quite challenging. This type of plan exercise is great for testing muscle endurance.

3. Arm or leg lift planks:

These are considered the next level in plank exercises as it puts immense pressure on your core muscles, making them even stronger. You will need to lie down in the original plank position and raise either one hand or one leg. You can alternate between the two for an intense workout. You can also combine this with a side plank and achieve a combination of benefits.

4. Side plank crunch:

This is one of the most challenging and fruitful variations of the planks that are usually recommended for seasoned gym-goers. However, with careful and steady practice you can achieve this at home as well. All you need to do is lie down in a side plank position and push your leg into your body as you do in crunches. This exercise not only works the core abdominal muscles but also helps strengthen the hip joints.

5. Resistance plank:

The plank can also be performed using resistance bands as well. This is an advanced level of plank exercises that you can do if you think you have mastered the basic variations. You can tie a resistance band around your wrists and ankles and slowly push out against it while in the original plank position. This added strain to your muscles and joints will help them become stronger.

Plank exercise focuses on building stamina, endurance, and core strength. This exercise mainly focuses on muscle groups which include the erector spinae (ES), the external oblique (EO) and the rectus abdominis (RA).

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How To Do Plank Exercise?

Level: Beginner

Type: Front Plank/ High Plank

There are many ways to do a plank exercise, and one simple way is doing the high plank or front plank. This type is similar to push-ups, but the only difference is that instead of resting your body weight on your palms, you should rest it on your elbows.

Step 1Lye down flat on the ground.
Step 2Place your elbow and legs flat (like Push-ups).
Step 3Push your body upward and keep your chin tight to your neck.
Step 4Hold your position for 10 seconds.
Step 5Bring your body downwards and continue this 3 times and then take a break.

NOTE: Make sure your back is completely straight when doing this exercise. A plank exercise can be modified into a plank with a leg lift and arm lift. However, if you are a beginner it is recommended you do the front plank workout and it will do you good.

Precautions

Do not do planks in the following cases:

  • If you have a shoulder injury.
  • If you feel pain in your shoulders after the exercise.
  • If you are pregnant.
  • Do not hold your breath while exercising.

NOTE: Consult a doctor if for more insight regarding conducting this exercise if you feel any of the above-listed pain.

Tips to Gain Maximum Benefits from Plank Exercise

  1. If you are doing it for the first time, try the plank exercise under the supervision of the trainer.
  2. Try performing the plank for a minimum of one minute at a time.
  3. Start by doing 1 plank a day to slowly 3 to 10 a day to reap the maximum benefits.
  4. Then, slowly also try side planks which can help improve your flexibility.
  5. If you are doing plank exercise at home, make sure you try in front of the mirror or with someone who can guide you.

Ultimately, enjoy the whole process. As and when you give time to this process, you will get tougher and sturdier. And then”¦keep adding few seconds to your stunning plank pose.

Also Read: Benefits of Watermelon Sexually: Exploring Research-Based Effects

Can Planks Reduce Belly Fat?

YES, plank exercise is a good calorie burner that reduces belly fat. Make sure you also stick to a healthy diet while performing this exercise. Add fresh fruits, whole grains, fish, banana, yoghurt, green tea and avocados to your everyday diet. Also, make sure that you perform this exercise regularly and in the right manner. Between pushing upward and downwards hold the position for 10 seconds and then release your body. Your overall workout must be for 60 seconds.

Common Posture Mistakes During Planks:

Planks target the entire body, like the core, arms and shoulders. This full-body exercise can even help in improving your posture and lessening your back pain. So it is important to get your plank exercise position correct. A sloppy plank can cause a variety of ailments that can cause any plank exercise injury, like wrist, shoulder, neck and lower-back injuries. Some of the common posture mistakes are as follows:

1. Sagging Hips:

In both high planks (full arm extended) and low plank (only forearms) exercises, you might make the mistake of dropping your hips. By doing this, you are releasing the core muscles where you hoped to target, not to mention the additional strain this puts on the lower back and shoulders. To correct your posture, always keep your hips in line with your shoulders.

2. Wandering Arms:

While doing side planks, keeping your support arm too far away from your body may cause strain on your shoulder, wrist and neck as well. Your shoulder should be aligned over the top of your wrist during side planks to avoid any plank exercise injury. For a perfect plank position, align your support hand directly over your shoulder and hold your other hand high above and legs stretched out, forming a ‘T’.

3. Knock-knuckled:

A lot of people have the mistake of having their palms angled towards the centre of their body while doing their planks. This can make them find difficulty in stabilizing their shoulders and cause a chest collapse. A correct palm position would be to place hands parallel to each other without breaking at the elbows and fingers slightly turned out. This will prevent any injuries.

In Conclusion

With so many benefits of this apparently simple exercise pose, it is no wonder that the plank posture is quickly becoming popular among fitness enthusiasts. There are many fitness trainers who have developed their own innovative variations of the plank. Even if you are not able to do the same, you can always go for the different variations and tips given here for similar results. Since the plank is indeed a total body workout as well as an addition to other workout positions, you should definitely consider adding to your workout routine.

Also Read: Exercises for Hip Pain: A Research-Based Guide to Relief

FAQs

A plank exercise is the best way that you can burn belly fat and improve your body strength. If you’re looking to get into fitness, consider adding this exercise to your everyday schedule. Here are some frequently asked questions that will give you an insight into some of its other facets.

Can you do a 3-minute plank workout?

YES, you can do a 3-minute plank workout provided you are in an advanced workout schedule. A 1-minute plank workout is more than required for a beginner, while a 3-minute workout plan could mean that you are at an advanced workout level. However, if you cannot hold a plank for 120 seconds in advanced workout schedules, it could mean you are fat or weak or you may be doing it in the wrong manner.

What happens if I do planks every day?

Here’s what you can benefit from it:
Improves body flexibility
Passes body energy to your arms, legs and spine
Improves running speed and efficiency

How many minutes should I plank every day?

It is advised that you plank for not more than 2 minutes. A minimum would be for 1 minute (beginner).

Why do I shake while doing planks?

Planks make you tremble in the beginning because this exercise applies your entire body weight to your muscles which means a lot of force.

Can I get in shape by just doing planks?

No, plank exercises strengthen your spine and shoulder, reduce body fat and prevent backaches. It is a simple exercise to stay fit and improve body balance and flexibility. It is advised that you go out for a jog, run cycling or swim to ensure that you look trim.

Planking is a simple exercise that everyone should add to their workout schedule as it strengthens the body core which is the main muscle that carries your entire body weight. However, follow the above-listed steps to perform it in the right manner and you will have whiteness results.

Live Healthy, Stay Safe!

Also read: 5 simple ways to stay fit and healthy

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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