When in doubt, #plankitout:
Summer is approaching and abdominal work is a must to help us get closer to our summer body goals. We often make the mistake of thinking doing more, in terms of exercise, will give us better results. However, sometimes the humblest of movements result in the greatest gains and this is certainly demonstrated with planks. Increasing the variations will add intensity but, no matter what variant you choose the results will always equate to core strength. Here are the top four benefits of performing planks:
- A Toned Belly - Planking will help build your deep inner core muscles that lay the groundwork for that six-pack look. As your abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section will tighten
- Reduce Back Pain - Planks work for back pain because they strengthen your core, which has the pleasant “side effect” of reducing back pain. They also strengthen your back muscles, especially those in your upper back. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE):2
- Flexibility - While building strength, planks also increase flexibility in your posterior muscle groups. The muscles around your shoulders, collarbone, and shoulder blades will expand and stretch (an area that often receives little attention), as will your hamstrings and even the arches of your feet and your toes.
- Improve Your Mood - Virtually every exercise has the potential to give you a mood boost, and planks are no exception. Planks are unique, however, in that they help stretch and ultimately relax muscles groups that often become stiff and tense from prolonged sitting.