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Abs! Feeling bad yet? Have you also been chasing that flat stomach? But parties, late-night snacking, binge eating, etc. come between your 6 or 8 pack dreams. You should know that a strong core does not only make you look good. The benefits of planks include a strong core, which improves stability and prevents back injuries.
Whether you like them or not, planks exercise are one of the best exercise for a tight core, perfect abs, and a shaped waistline. You will find trainers asking you to do planks workout over sit-ups or crunches mostly because they don’t affect the spine as much. Also, planks exercise hit so many marks with a single stone – they tone the glutes, arms, hamstrings, shoulders, and the back.
Time does seem to run slow or stop altogether but plank benefits are worth the effort. The good thing is that planks can be adapted and transformed to target certain parts of the body. If you’re wondering, the 30-day plank challenge works wonders.
It is quite easy to add planks to your workout routine if in case you follow one. Workout at hundreds of premium gyms and fitness centers in 12+ cities across India with FITPASS. Attend abs workout classes, CrossFit sessions, and core workout among many others with a single app.
Let’s start with the original. The forearm plank is the foundation of all the variations and this is where you should start if you haven’t tried them earlier. You can do it on the floor if you don’t mind slipping and hurting your forearms a little. Forearm plank benefits include improved metabolism in addition to improved posture.
How to do Forearm Plank: Place your forearms on a mat right underneath your shoulders on stretch your lower body backward. Tuck your tailbone and engage your triceps, glutes, and abs to ensure that your back doesn’t arch down towards the mat. Lift your knees to form a straight line with your body. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds up to 1 minute. Repeat the same up to 3 times.
The Posterior Pelvic Tilt (PPT) plank is quite similar to the regular plank except for a small difference. The variation increases the tension in your core, which increases abdominal activation better than the regular plank.
How to do the PPT Plank: Assume the regular plank position on a yoga mat. Next, roll your hips back as if you’re a dog tucking your tail between the legs. Simultaneously, increase pressure on your elbows and toes to bring them towards each other without actually moving them; the idea is to build tension in these parts of the body. Try to squeeze your abs as hard as you can, the goal is to not be able to hold the position for more than 15 seconds.
Also known as the Plank Walkdown, it helps you to improve your overall fitness. The idea is to keep your hips from sagging and prevent them from shifting from side to side. It’s almost like Moving Plank but at the same place. Ensure maintaining a straight line with your body.
How to do the Plank Walkdown: Start in the forearm plank position. Fully stretch one hand and let the weight shift on your palm. Place it exactly under your shoulder. Next, lift the other arm and you will be in a pushup position. With your hands under your shoulders, reverse the motion of the hands to go back to the forearm plank position. Repeat this as many times as possible within 30 seconds to 1 minute. Do 3 sets.
The side plank focuses on the muscle group that is usually neglected. It works the posterior shoulder muscles that support upper arm bone movement, external oblique abdominals that are responsible for twisting and bending sideways, the deepest abdominal muscles, the QL muscles that support the lumbar spine, and hip abductors. Some believe that this variation is much better than the regular plank. It has several variations in itself:
- Forearm Side Plank (Regular)
- Side Plank on Knee
- Side Plank Push-ups
- Side Plank Scoops
- Top Leg Lift
- Bottom Leg Lift
How to do Side Plank: Lie on your left or right side with your arms flat. Make sure that your elbow is directly underneath the shoulder to avoid injuries. Stack your legs, keep the knees on the ground, and lift your hips. Raise the upper hand towards the ceiling and squeeze your glutes.
Instead of resting your lower body on your knees, lift yourself on your feet to increase the intensity. To further increase side plank effects bend your hips towards the floor and bring it back, kind of like doing push-ups. Try to stay in the position with any variation for at least 30 seconds.
Strength building exercises such as reverse plank improve body control and awareness. It is a full body exercise that works the glutes, abs, hamstrings, triceps, shoulders, obliques, and shoulders. You can do it directly on the mat or on a foam roller, which increases the intensity. To relieve pressure on the wrists, try to lift off of the ground. Focus on the back of the arms and try to engage those muscles.
How to do Reverse Plank: Sit upright on the mat or the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands behind your back or on a foam roller. Lift your hips and engage the glutes and core; your body should form a straight line from shoulders to heels.
You can make it more intense by doing triceps dips; bend your arms while holding your plank. You can make it even harder by adding a leg raise. Raise your right or left leg towards the ceiling. The hips will bend naturally but keep your hips stable. Raise one leg 3 times and alternate to the other, which will complete 1 repetition. Try to do 5 repetitions. Remember to take deep breaths and hold your position as long as your lower back starts to arch. Make sure that your hips don’t sag or lift too high. Also, your shoulders should not be drawn towards your ears.
These are but a fraction of the several plank variations. Start with these and be on a lookout for our blogs for more.