All you wanted to know about plank exercises
Plank exercises are a great choice for your home workout routine and can help you create muscle definition in your arms, shoulders, back and abs. Before you add any new move to your routine, it's a great idea to understand the exercise and how it can work for you. If you have any health concerns, it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start any kind of new exercise schedule. So, what is planking exercise? Here's everything you need to know about planks. One of the most important things is to execute proper form when you do planks. Doing the move incorrectly can lessen your results and sets you up for the risk of injury. A perfect plank involves holding your body up by resting on your forearms and toes, similar to a push up position. Your back and legs should create a straight line and you should avoid arching or rounding your back. Be sure you are keeping your core tightened for support and breathe regularly to help you keep your position throughout the move.
Another thing to consider is how long to hold your plank. If you're new to the move, you need to start small and build your time so that you don't hurt yourself and so that you can keep your progress on track. Start with a 30-second plank and add 10 seconds every couple of days until you build up to about two minutes. There is some debate about whether or not a longer plank is more beneficial. In general, experts say that anything beyond two minutes is overkill and not really necessary. You might also consider doing several 30-second planks over the course of the day instead of one long one, which helps you master the move without hurting yourself or compromising your form.
There are many variations of the traditional plank exercises. Once you've gotten confident with the original one, consider mixing and matching with the variations to boost your benefits and work alternate muscle groups. Try a side plank, which increases the benefits for your abs. To do the move, rest your body on your forearm, keeping it aligned with your elbow. Raise your hips to form a straight line, stacking your feet. Repeat on the other side.
The straight arm plank is another great variation and is done much the same way as a traditional plank except that your arms are straight instead of bent at the elbow.
Doing planks with leg and arm lifts is a great way to boost the benefits to your core and also builds strength in your arms and legs since you are required to balance on each one during the move. From the straight arm plank, lift your right arm straight out and raise your left leg off the floor. Hold the move for several seconds, then switch and repeat it on the other side. This variation is one that you can add once you have gained confidence with the others.
Beyond building muscles, there are other great benefits to using planks on a regular basis. You can also enhance your core strength, which boosts your balance and helps you more easily perform other types of exercise. Strong muscles make most daily activities easier, such as carrying kids and groceries and helps you build the endurance needed to do other types of exercise without getting winded or fatigued too quickly. In addition, building lean muscle mass helps boost your metabolism, which enhances your calorie burn so that you can lower your weight and stay healthy at the same time. Combine moves such as planks with your usual cardio routine to keep your body lean and trim, while also building strong, healthy muscle too.
Planks are an invaluable addition to just about any workout routine. You can do them in the comfort of your own home or add them to your gym routine by using an exercise mat. Add a plank to your routine every other day and you should start seeing results in just a couple of weeks. Increase your times in weekly increments to keep your progress going and ensure that you are getting the most out of your planks.
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