23 Apr Movement Challenge: The Plank
Planking….. One exercise everyone loves to hate. This isometric exercise requires full body activation, minimal equipment (technically none) and can be done anywhere, anytime, any place. While crunches still seem to be a preferred core exercise by many, there is little evidence to support that it is more effective than planks or plank variations. Given that the plank exercise has been around for a very long time, in fact most fitness experts contribute the invention of the plank exercise to Joseph Pilates (yes you read that right) back in the 1920’s. There are standardized norms values for planks based on gender and age bands (refer to the table below).
Without getting too deep into a history lesson or blast you with research, why would someone want to incorporate planks into their workout routine? Just look at the list below
● Increases Muscle Definition ● Improves Overall Strength ● Boosts Mood and Relieves Stress (the benefits of ANY exercise) ● Improves Muscle Metabolism ● Improves Balance (decrease slips and falls) ● Reduces Back Pain (Particularly in the low back) ● Improves Posture (which makes you look taller!!)
How to do a plank? 1. Get into the top position of a pushup on the floor or any surface. 2. One arm at a time bend your elbows 90 degrees so your forearms are on the ground. 3. Keep your torso rigid and in a straight line with no sagging or bending (in the low back specifically). 4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor (looking up puts strain on the neck!). 5. Hold the position for as long as you can. 6. Remember to breathe! Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily just like a normal day. 7. When you notice your form starts to crumble STOP! Cheating your form does you NO benefit.