Plank Press is the New Inclusive Exercise
Planking has recently taken the fitness world by storm. This exercise, which focuses on the press instead of the pump, targets several muscle groups at once and is a great way to achieve that toned and slim figure that people want.
This exercise is also one of the quickest ones out there, taking less than 5 minutes total for beginners. You also don’t need any equipment or particular surfaces to do it on. Any hard, flat surface will do.
What Muscles Are Targeted by Planking?
The first question that people ask about any exercise is: what muscles does this develop? The answer: almost everything!
Planking is very good for weight loss because it targets your muscles on your problem areas such as the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks. This helps in eliminating the fat deposits in those areas as well as burning lots of calories in general.
Some of the muscles activated by planking are: erector spinae, rectus abdominis (abs), trapezius, deltoid muscles, pectorals (pecs), gluteus maximus (glutes), and quadriceps (quads).
While planking will not be a breeze for beginners, the press is definitely less straining than the pump of weight training in the long run.
Much like standing dumbbell side bends, planking helps develop your core muscles to stabilize it and potentially improve posture.
What risks should I be aware of?
While planking exercises provide many benefits, there are also risks, especially for people with underlying health issues.
Because planking is a static exercise done in a straining position, it may cause a rise in blood pressure, which may be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or existing heart problems. It would be best to consult with a physician before trying out the exercise if you have any health conditions.
What are the benefits of planking?
Because planking activates so many muscle groups, the benefits to this exercise are also copius. Here are some of the basic ones:
- Develops multiple muscle groups at once.
- Strengthens and tones your abs
- Improves posture.
- Trims and tones your figure.
- Less strain on abdominal muscles by strengthening your back.
And all this – without simulators and any additional equipment! No wonder exercise strap has the most positive reviews.
The Proper Planking Technique
While there are many variations of this exercise, we will be focusing on the most basic position for beginners. It may also be a good idea to practice this in front of the mirror so you know what it should look like. Remembering the sensations should also help you achieve the right form in the future.
As seen in the picture above, planking is done in a horizontal position that is quite similar to the push up position. You may use a fitness or yoga mat to reduce the stress on your elbows. The initial position is to keep your body as horizontal as possible with your arms bent at an angle of 90 degrees. You must put your weight on your elbows/forearms and your forefoot.
Your back must be kept as straight as possible, while making sure your buttocks do not rise up too much. You can imagine drawing a straight line from your head to your toes and try to keep in line with this as much as possible.
It is also important to remember which muscle groups are supposed to be activated by this exercise and make sure you are feeling the sensation in those areas.
At first glance, planking does not look very hard to do. However, many first-timers do not make it past 30 seconds of holding the position. Then, you can dumbbell side bends resort to the light option, with your knees bent.This exercise is meant to get gradually harder the longer you try to do it. The first 10 or 15 seconds may seem easy but getting to that 1 minute mark might just be harder than you think.
How long and how often should I do this exercise?
Depending on your physical fitness level, you may do this exercise 3-4 times a week or even every day. Beginners may start at 2-3 sets of 30 seconds each and increase the duration as they feel to maintain their optimal level of intensity. Once you are able to hold a plank for two minutes or longer, you may start trying out the more advanced positions such as the extended plank, side plank, or medicine ball plank.
It is important to note that since planking is a static and isometric exercise, it will not burn as many calories as dynamic exercises. By developing your muscle strength and endurance, however, it will in turn allow you to do other dynamic exercises at a higher intensity or longer duration, thus indirectly aiding in your weight loss.