The Surprising Benefits of Planking

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Planking refers to a type of isometric core strength exercise that tones the whole body. This exercise requires holding a position similar to a pushup for as long as you can. Performing planks regularly is an excellent way to tone the midsection. Below are other surprising benefits you get from doing the plank:

Builds Strength

It takes a certain level of strength to balance yourself by your elbows and maintaining the same position for minutes. As you hold the plank position, it stimulates muscle contraction and builds strength. The move engages the outer and inner abdominal muscles. It also stabilizes the obliques, pectoral and serratus muscles! Muscles from the lower body, such as the quadriceps, sartorius and tensor fasciae latae, are also engaged and toned. Essentially, all these muscles become stronger from regular planking!

Boosts Flexibility

Planking exercise helps boost flexibility, especially in the posterior muscle groups. As you balance yourself, muscles from the shoulders, shoulder blades, and collarbones become pliant, more flexible. The move also presses the thigh muscles forward, lengthening the hamstrings and calves for a good stretch! In addition, planking also stretches the arches of the feet strengthening the toes and boosting flexibility.

Improves Posture

Planking not only tones the muscle but also corrects the posture. The move activates the core, which is the midsection. It strengthens the abdominis and iliopsoas, muscles that also support the spine and hips. Studies show that planking exercise can reverse or even prevent spine problems caused by poor postures such as lordosis and posterior pelvic tilt.

Weak abdominal muscles that overextend to the back often cause lordosis or swayback. Meanwhile, posterior pelvic tilt is caused by weak hip flexor that flattens the normal C-shape curve of the spine.

Better Balance

To perform a plank, you have to pull the abdominal muscles to stay upright. Pulling the abdominals improve balance. All types of planking exercises improve balance but side planking performed on a fitness ball is the best balance booster of all! This move will restore proper posture and balance of the shoulders back and chest.

Boosts Mental Health

Yes, planking does have mental benefits too! It helps improve mood and alleviates stress. It also keeps the whole body flexible, freeing you from stiffness, joint pain, chronic aches and muscle soreness. Sitting for too long also affects the hips and joints. It also causes tension in the shoulder girdle. Eventually, the repeated stress in the shoulder girdle will lead to poor posture and back pain. When the body is free from pain, the mind is at ease.

A Toned Midsection

One of the reasons why fitness enthusiasts love planking is its ability to sculpt and define the midsection! Planking strengthens the core, laying the groundwork for an enviable six pack.

Of course, it helps if you combine planking with cardio exercises if you want to achieve washboard abs. To make toned abdominal muscles more defined, you have to thin out the band of fat that covers the entire midsection. Cardio exercises help burn off more body fat. Combine that with planking and it won’t be long before you develop a toned belly!

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