The holiday season is still here, and even for a little longer for some people enjoying their holidays in September. It is generally during this period of time that we want to show ourselves to others at our best, and to be able to enjoy this moment without any complexity. However, if you have to refine your silhouette to be able to show your beautiful flat stomach or your abs on the beach, it is not too late! There is a very simple exercise, in order to both achieve this goal, but also to establish a much longer-lasting muscle basis. It is indeed the plank.
Indeed, it promotes a tone up of your abdominal muscles, but not only. It is also a valuable asset to many activities. As we get closer to the new office season, it would be interesting to see how it can help you to fight back pain. Before giving you some plank exercises for beginners, which you can easily reproduce at home or at your gym, it is worth to recall its effects.
1 / A little reminder:
What is the plank exercise?
First of all, to quickly define plank and body tone up, let’s say that we can classify muscles into 2 categories. The first one includes superficial muscles. These are the ones who offer you a six-pack on the beach or well-designed muscles. They mainly have an aesthetic purpose. Depending on your goals, you can exercise these muscles in a gym room using guided devices or others.
The second category is composed of deep muscles. As their name suggests, they are located below your superficial muscles. They are usually smaller and more numerous. Nevertheless, they are much more important in your everyday life because they will offer you, in addition to a good posture, a better balance, and stability. Furthermore, they will prevent you from annoying chronic pain related to a muscular imbalance. To exercise these muscles, the first step is plank exercises.
What are the benefits of a good plank on chronic pain?
At first, plank exercises help to improve your posture, balance and body coordination. Many people nowadays complain of back, joint, cervical, tendon or muscle pain. It is important not to take these pains lightly. Instead, try to understand why your body makes you feel that way and how to fix it. And that without going to the first pharmacy and swallow anti-inflammatories pills that will hide the pain without really healing it. These are also to be avoided because they will cause you long-term problems for your liver, kidneys, etc.
Generally, these pains are caused by a movement repetition taking place during your daily life, and which causes muscular imbalances. Your body is smart. It will adapt by offsetting this imbalance with other stronger muscles while pointing this imbalance issues with chronic pain. That’s why muscle rebalancing is important. And it is thanks to plank exercises that you will deepen your abdominal/lumbar belt. This will help you find better posture at work and in your everyday life too. It can also give you better balance and body coordination.
What are the benefits of a good plank for improving sports performance?
Secondly, plank exercises can be practiced to improve your results in other sports or physical activities. Indeed, it will allow you to build a solid basis on which you can effectively develop your other muscles. To better understand this, imagine your musculature as a huge house. Is it possible to build a house starting from the roof? No. For a strong, sustainable home, you need to build a solid foundation for your long-term projects.
Well for your body, it’s the same thing. Having already muscle training reduces the risk of hurting yourself while facilitating the development of superficial muscles mentioned above. Therefore, when you train, try to organize your sessions based on that. Of course, do not just do the plank, but try to integrate, at each beginning and/or end of the session, a plank circuit to rebalance and develop your abdominal and/or lumbar belt.
2 / Our guide: plank exercises for beginners
When you start plank exercises, you must, at first, start by testing the 4 basic postures and try to stay as long as possible on each posture. 20, 30 or 40 seconds whatever, your result will become your “reference time” for the first week of exercise. After that, you can increase it to progress.
Use your reference time for each posture (the same time is ideal).
Beginning and end of session:
1st posture – 30 seconds
2nd posture on the right – 30 seconds
2nd posture on the left – 30 seconds
3rd posture – 30 seconds
1 minute of recovery
Circuit × 4
Total working time: 16 minutes
Posture 1: The classic plank
Position on the elbows, shoulders well above elbows, tight abdominals muscles (feeling of pulling your stomach in), gluteal muscles contracted for a better intensity in the exercise.
Maintain regular breathing without releasing the abdominals or gluteal muscles.
Posture 2: The classic oblique plank (Right & Left side)
On one elbow, shoulders placed well above your elbow. Place the foot closest to the ground slightly off the front of your back foot for better stability.
Make sure to take off the pelvis by pushing against the ground with your feet while contracting your small and medium buttocks, abductors and abdominals.
For more intensity and more effective work, it is important to keep a strong voluntary contraction of the abdominals.
Seek to grow as much as possible while standing straight (cervical should be aligned with your spine).
Posture 3: The posterior plank
This posture is often forgotten because it mobilizes less your abdominals but it is just as important to balance your work between your posterior and anterior muscles chain.
Stand on your back, legs bent, ankles and knees touching the other.
Place the heels as close as possible to the gluteal muscles, keeping everything tight, pushing against the floor to take off the pelvis contracting the back of the thighs and buttocks.
3 / Different plank exercises
Change your positions
After a few weeks, you will feel very quickly comfortable with each posture. As a result, you will be able to challenge yourself. Thus, this may be manifested by an increase in your reference time on each position or the number of repetitions. Similarly, you can also reduce your recovery time, or increase the difficulty of positions.
The most important thing is to feel your progress and enjoy it in your everyday life. It is also very rewarding to know that you can evolve in activities that you might not have been able to approach before this new muscle basis. Indeed, the benefits of plank exercises are evident in many disciplines.
Use plank exercises in other physical activities
Thus, plank, as said above, provides a solid foundation for developing muscles. Likewise, it brings a better balance. It is for this reason that plank is very useful for the practice of pilates. Indeed, this offers the possibility to increase your performances, hence the fact that many top athletes use pilates. Similarly, whether for yoga or gymnastics (which includes many disciplines), balance is essential these sports, hence the need to work on the abdominal belt. Finally, proprioception is usually used in rehabilitation physiotherapy centers to focus on the deep muscles of a joint weakened by an injury. It is then a method for muscular rebalancing.
A good plank is one of the essential exercises to work on your abdominal muscles. It also has medical uses, to fight against back pain, and help the rehabilitation of some weakened joints.
Do not hesitate to integrate it regularly into your physical routine.
“Be Fit, Be Healthy”