Plank exercise – advantages, execution and variants for a good whole body workout!
No expensive equipment, no fitness membership required and just as effective – it's no surprise that fitness for home and workouts with your own weight are becoming increasingly popular. Another advantage of weight training is that you can do it practically anywhere. Plank exercise, also known as forearm support in Germany, is without a doubt one of the most effective exercises with your own weight. It not only strains the abdominal and arm muscles, but also the legs and buttocks and is an enrichment for every training plan. How is a plank executed correctly, what are the most common mistakes as well as many plank exercise variants and a plank challenge can be found right in our article!
The plank is a classic isometric exercise. This means that you put yourself in a certain position and then stop moving for a certain time. This is a special form of strength training in which the muscles are effectively trained by the tension. When done correctly, the Plank exercise has a lot of advantages. It improves posture, tones the stomach, reduces back pain and improves our endurance and stamina. In addition, the exercise has so many variants with which different muscle groups are trained and one can challenge oneself again and again that it is guaranteed never to be boring.
Plank exercise right execution for best results
The forearm support is an excellent way to train all important muscle groups at once in the shortest possible time. The abdominal muscles are mainly used. But to keep the position, the shoulder, chest, back, buttocks and leg muscles are also tense. Just like with all workouts, the quantity exercise takes precedence over quality. You can only achieve good training success if you do it as correctly as possible. In addition, improper execution can result in injury to the back and spine. When asked how long a plank should be kept, there is no uniform answer. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you start with shorter sentences of around 20-30 seconds and gradually increase the time span.
Here's how to do the right plank exercise:
- Lie on an exercise mat and place your elbows shoulder-width under your shoulders. Tighten the belly button and tighten the belly.
- Now slowly raise your entire body with your toes and forearms, making sure that it forms a straight horizontal line.
- Make sure there is a 90 degree angle between the forearms and upper arms.
- So that the neck is stretched, look down.
- Then hold the position as long as you can while breathing in and out deeply.
- It is important that the body is not allowed to sag and that the back, stomach, shoulders, legs and buttocks remain tight all the time.
What are the forearm support benefits for our health?
The plank is not only the ideal exercise to train the whole body and all important muscle groups at once, but also offers plenty of benefits for our health.
- Plank exercise for strong backs – The lower arm of the back is strengthened by the forearm support. Strengthening this part of the body is also particularly important for everyday life. This improves our movements and we can carry and lift heavy things. In addition, the Plank exercise helps relieve and prevent back pain.
- Reduces the risk of injury to the back and spine – More and more people are suffering from a herniated disc at a young age. Planks strengthen the back muscles and ensure that not too much pressure is applied to the spine and this is relieved. Especially for people who have to sit all day, the risk of back pain is significantly reduced.
- Stimulates the metabolism – Unlike other abdominal exercises such as crunches or sit-ups, planks work on several muscle groups at the same time. Strengthening the whole body brings another great advantage – a faster metabolism. With only 5 to 10 minutes a day not only the metabolism is stimulated, but also the heart rate is increased in retirement. This in turn leads to a higher calorie burn.
- Planks for better posture – Regular planks strengthen the function of the spine and core muscles. This has a positive effect on posture, which improves our coordination and prevents back pain. In addition, people with good posture look healthier, more confident, and leaner.
- The Plank exercise has a stress-relieving effect and ensures a better mood – Regular planks and training ensure that the production of the happiness hormone in the brain is stimulated. The reason for this is that the plank extends exactly the muscle groups that we tense most frequently during stress and mental stress. Especially when you have to sit in a chair all day, there are often tense shoulders, stiff backs and leg pain. These are all conditions that strain the muscles and nerves. By adding the Plank exercise to your daily routine, stress is reduced and symptoms of depression and anxiety are alleviated.
The most common mistakes in planking
Although at first glance the Plank exercise looks very simple, it is very often wrong. In the worst case, an incorrect execution can lead to serious injuries to the back and the joints. Below are the most common plank errors.
- The body is not a straight line – Fitness novices, who do not yet have enough strength in their abdominal muscles, tend to sag in the upper body. This reduces the effectiveness and the hollow back that is created places a heavy load on the lower back. Therefore, it is recommended to start with shorter units until you learn to keep the body in a straight line from the shoulders to the feet.
- Raised buttocks – By stretching the buttocks too high in the air, the tension in the abdominal muscles is reduced and this in turn reduces the training effect and is more counterproductive. To avoid this mistake, you should try to keep your butt so deep that your body forms a straight line.
- Wrong head position – Many people tend to look down or up in the plank exercise. This creates a lot of tension in the neck area and can cause unpleasant tensions or even injuries. The neck should also be in a neutral, straight line with the body. Try to keep your eyes on the ground and stretch your neck as much as possible.
- Bent knees relieve the gluteal muscles and lead to reduced body tension. Try to keep your legs straight.
- Moved hands and arms – Especially with a high plank on the hands, the angle between the upper body and the upper arms is often increased in order to reduce the tension somewhat. Try not to stretch your arms too far and keep them at right angles to the floor.
Provide more variety with different plank exercise variations
The Plank exercise is not only versatile in terms of health and body benefits, but also in terms of the myriad ways you can do it. With each variation, different muscle groups are activated and trained. Here are some of the most popular and effective exercises you can add to your home workout routine.
- Side plank is wonderful for training the lateral abdominal muscles. In addition, a study published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine found that the lateral forearm support reduced the curvature of the spine in people with scoliosis. Lie on your side and lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line. If necessary, you can put your other hand on the floor for more balance. Hold the position for a certain time and then switch to the other side. To increase the level of difficulty, try dynamically lifting and lowering your hips or incorporating a rotational movement. Rotation plank goes by stretching your arm up and then down through your waist.
- Reverse plank specifically trains the buttocks and lower body. Sit on an exercise mat and place your hands palm down under your shoulders. Now lift your thighs and buttocks off the floor and slowly push your whole body up. Hold the position for a while. So that it doesn't get too boring, you can alternately stretch your legs up. Try to do about 10 repetitions per leg.
- Stretch arms and legs – It is a wonderful plank exercise variant to train the shoulder and glutes. Go to the starting position of the classic high plank and alternately slowly stretch your arms forward to the horizontal. Lift the diagonal leg slightly off the floor to activate the glutes.
- Plank exercise with leg raises – Start in the classic plank position and lift your leg a few inches off the floor and hold for a few seconds.
- One-leg forearm support with leg adduction and abduction is one of the most effective self-weight exercises for slim and tight thighs. Go into the classic plank and lift one leg off the floor. Then slowly push this outwards and then back again so that it crosses the other leg. Above all, make sure that the whole body remains tight.
- Side plank with crunches especially strains the oblique abdominal muscles and lower back and is more suitable for advanced users. Start in the side plank, place your lower leg on your knee and bend slightly backwards. The upper leg remains raised and the upper hand is behind the head. Now pull the leg and arm together so that the knees and elbows are pulled together. Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise approximately 8-10 times per side.
- Mountain climbers are a classic exercise for the abdominal muscles, train our endurance and are actually a dynamic variant of the classic plank. Start from the classic high plank position and then pull your legs towards your chest in quick succession. It is particularly important to make sure that the body forms a straight line during the movement.
- Plank Jacks are another dynamic variant of the plank exercise and stimulate fat burning even more. Start in the classic forearm support and spread your feet a little wider than your hips. Then jump with your legs and immediately jump back to the starting position.
How about a plank challenge for 30 days?
The Plank Challenge is all about doing the plank exercise for 30 days, increasing the time period from day to day. Since the first results in the abdominal area are already visible after a few days, it is definitely worth the effort to try out the Plank Challenge. This only tightens the entire body, but also increases endurance and stamina. If you wish, you can take a day off every 10 days so that the body can rest and the muscles can regenerate.
- Day 1: 10 seconds
- Day 2: 20 seconds
- Day 3: 30 seconds
- Day 4: 40 seconds
- Day 5: 50 seconds
- Day 6: 1 minute
- Day 7: 70 seconds
- Every day up to day 30 increase the time by 10 seconds until you can hold the plank exercise for 5 minutes at the end of the challenge.
The post plank exercise – advantages, execution and variants for a good whole body workout! appeared first on Deavita.com | Living ideas, design, hairstyles, make-up, lifestyle, health and beauty tips.