Plank exercises

The plank has many benefits and is one of the best exercises for core conditioning. It works glutes and hamstrings, supports posture, and improves balance.

If you’ve never tried one, a plank may look easy, but it’s deceiving. While getting into the proper form is straightforward, holding the position takes strength and endurance in your abs, back and core.

A Toned Stomach

Planking will help build your deep inner core muscles and your abdominal muscles become stronger, your midsection will tighten.

Reduce Back Pain

Planks work for back pain because they strengthen your core, which has the benefit of reducing back pain. They also strengthen your back muscles, especially those in the upper back.

Flexibility

Planks increase flexibility in the muscles around your shoulders, collarbone, and shoulder blades and stretch your hamstrings and the arches of your feet and your toes.

Improve your mood

Planks are unique, in that they help stretch and relax muscles groups that often become stiff and tense from prolonged sitting. The tension release that planks provide is uplifting for your spirit.

Improve Your Balance and Posture

To do a plank correctly, you must engage your abs to stay upright. If you do planks regularly, you’ll find you’re able to sit or stand up straighter with ease.

How to do a plank

To do a plank, hold your body off the ground, making sure you hold it in a straight line, with all your weight on your elbows and toes. Hold your elbows directly under your shoulders and place your wrists in line with your elbows.

Push your body up into your upper back and hold your chin close to your neck (like you’re holding an egg between your chin and your throat). In this position, brace your abdominals like expecting a punch in your stomach, squeeze your gluteal (tailbone) while continuing to breathe normally.

Hold the plank for at least 20 to 30 seconds. Rest for approximately one minute and then repeat three to five more times.

Conclusion

Without the correct posture, back ache significantly increases; therefore this exercise can be extremely beneficial as part of a daily exercise routine.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy and already struggle with balance, this exercise would be perfect for me.


17 Sep, 2016

8 thoughts on “Plank exercises

  1. I have struggled with weak core muscles arising from a chronic bad back since my 20’s. I think it originates from when I rode motorbikes.

    I have tried the usual sit ups and crutches but these usually make my back worse, so I am keen to try anything that helps my core muscles, while not exacerbating my bad back.

    You have described the plank exercise simply and I will give this a try. Thanks for suggesting this exercise.

    1. I am also prone to a bad back from a difference in leg length due to Cerebral Palsy and other complications, so I know how that feels.

      I’m pleased this particular exercise helps with your back. It’s not something I can do, so I need to find other ways to keep my back strong.

      It’s important the back is kept strong, because without it we will always struggle with posture and intermittent back pain.

  2. Thank you so much. I love this blog! ! Would the bottom half of my body being placed on the floor and using my upper half be considered planking?

    The reason is, I don’t have the body strength to hold my entire body off the floor. Maybe for 2 or 3 seconds at a time.

    1. Perhaps what you’re suggesting wouldn’t be considered planking in the true sense, but living with a disability I believe there are no set patterns or rules.

      As long as you weren’t hurting yourself and awkwardly putting pressure on other muscle groups that will go on to create pain, perhaps it will be fine.

      I know that when I found out I had Cerebral Palsy, I sought help from a Neurological Physiotherapist and she showed me certain exercises tailored to me that she wanted me to follow.

      Perhaps that’s a possibility Bonnie. That way your exercises are tailor made to suit you. You’re less likely to get hurt that way.

    1. No problem Bonnie! Please try to make sure it’s a physiotherapist that deals with problems with the brain Bonnie. An ordinary Physiotherapist won’t be able to help you or understand your problems in the same way.

      When I first found out I had Cerebral Palsy, the Neurologist I was seeing referred me to a Neurological Physiotherapist. They deal specifically with brain damage.

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