A planking exercise is simply one of the best exercises to include in a well balanced abdominal and core routine. The name is reflective of what you do; keep your body flat as a board. It is a bodyweight exercise that uses simple gravity and body position to achieve results much like a callisthenic exercise.
Along with being extremely convenient, it is also great for strengthening the core muscles of the body which in turn increases balance, improves athletic performance, and help with back pain or prevention of back injury. Those are the reasons why planking exercises should play an important part in your regular workout routine.
Ideally you work your abdominal muscles twice a week. A great idea is to include one or two planking exercises in your routine. You can then rotate between some of the variations to constantly surprise your body for a better workout along with ensuring you hit all muscles.
Various Planking Exercises
- Standard Plank – A basic plank is a lot like a push-up. In fact, many people choose to assume a push-up position and hold it for a plank. Or you can start in that position and then instead of using straight arms, rest your weight on your forearms. In both cases keeping the entire body straight from head to toe is the primary goal which is accomplished from tensing the abdominal muscles.
- Side Plank – Similar to the basic plank, you start on your side with feet together and this time your weight is on one forearm that rests underneath your shoulders. Your body should look like a “T” from the side profile.
- Single Leg – Assume a standard plank and then lift one foot of the ground, bending at the knee. Then from that position push your heel towards the ceiling to work the glutes and lower back. Switch legs on the next set.
- Circle Plank – Start in a push-up plank position. Keeping your feet in the same position, slowly walk your hands to the right using one then the other to complete a full circle. Then, if you can, reverse the circle for a full rotation the other way. Enjoy the video and know you don’t have to be a busy mom to utilize this exercise
- Knee Thrust Planks – Start in a push-up position. Take your right knee and bring it towards your left elbow, keeping your foot off the ground. Keep balanced by using the core muscles. Reverse the motion then switch legs to repeat.
- T-Planks – Start in a normal plank position. Then lift your right hand off the ground. Slowly raise your right arm and hand towards the ceiling while twisting at the waist. Hold the top position for a two count then reverse the motion. Switch arms to do the other side.
Planking exercises tone, strengthen, and tighten the entire abdominal section. Just doing crunches and leg raises will not provide the same type of work to the core that those plank exercises do. So make sure to include them in your routine and then reap the benefits in the way that you look and feel.