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  • 22nd JUL 2014

    Why should I plank?

    By Emma Price in Gym

    It's the ultimate core challenge. Find out how to do the perfect plank and how this will benefit your body.

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    By introducing a simple exercise like the plank into your workout routine you could be taking steps towards being slim for summer, fit for life!

    It’s no wonder the plank has been getting extra recognition recently, as the benefits of such a simple exercise are numerous.

    How do I plank?

    • Position yourself with your elbows bent 90 degrees with both forearms resting on the floor.
    • Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders.
    • Look to the floor, making sure your neck is straight.
    • Raise your legs so that only your toes are touching the floor.
    • Your body should form a perfectly straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
    • Hold.

     

    You can hold the plank for as long as possible, but if you’re a beginner it is a good idea to begin with a small amount of time, e.g. 30 seconds, and work your way up steadily.

    The longest time in an abdominal plank position is 3 hours 7 minutes and 15 seconds... but a minute is still respectable in our book!

     

    Benefits of the plank:

    Now that you know how to perform the perfect plank, you can start reaping the rewards of introducing it into your routine.

    Strength

    Your core is essential for balance and stability and by doing the plank you will notice a difference in these areas. Not only will your core strength improve, but you will improve neck strength, shoulder strength and bicep strength. Believe us, if you hold it long enough you’ll feel how hard your upper body is working!

    As well as your upper body, your lower body will also be working hard. Your abdominals are the main muscle group contracting during the plank- keeping your entire body steady and streamlined. You may be able to intensify your plank even further by dropping your bottom a little lower. Feel it? Thought so!

    Improved Posture

    As a result of your improved core strength, you will automatically improve your posture. Introducing the plank into your life could result in a significant improvement to posture and reduce back pain. This is great if you are sat in an office for the majority of your day.

    Not to mention, good posture makes you look a few pounds lighter! What’s not to love?

    No Equipment Necessary

    The great thing about the plank is that all you need is your body, you can even add variations to the exercise without adding equipment. For example, the side plank or alternate leg lifts are excellent for working the oblique muscles. Our gym instructors are on hand to offer advice and variations on any type of exercise, not just the plank. 

    Toning

    Now for the real reason you want to know about plank! Yes, the plank is great for toning. Engaging your abdominals through plank will certainly help you achieve a more streamlined shape. Although, you shouldn’t rely entirely on this! Use the plank as an additional tool to reach your health and fitness goals.