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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Is A Plank and How To Do It?

Planking or the plank exercise is a movement that involves the core muscles and centers on the improvement of your strength, endurance and balance. The exercise has this name because when it is properly performed, you can straighten your whole body as well as sustain it in a rigid manner, which resembles to a wooden plank. Just like with other calisthenic exercises, it doesn’t require additional equipment or weights, thus making it a convenient form of strength training in case you have a limited budget or you are traveling most of the time.

We will start with the basic technique. For the “front plank” you need to lie on an even surface with your belly down. Your feet should be positioned so that your toes will touch the floor. The next step is to bring your hands forward and positioned close of the sides of your head, so that your forearms will lie on the floor parallel to one another as well as to the torso. In a slow and gentle manner, raise your torso as well as your legs off the floor, placing all the weight on the toes, elbows and forearms. Maintain your body in a straight manner, perceiving it as a stiff plank, starting from your head up to your heels. Hold the position for about 20 seconds, while breathing in a steady manner. Once you finish the position, bring your torso gently back to the ground. At first it will be difficult to plank for as low as 30 seconds, but as you do it more often you will be able to hold the position for longer.

The planking exercise can be an efficient part of your workout since it includes a broad range of the major muscle groups. Depending on your experience, you can increase the intensity of the planking position by utilizing an exercise ball that is inflatable. With the exercise ball, you can begin by placing your belly on the ball. Move forward using your hands, allowing the body to roll over the ball’s surface. It should end with the ball sustaining the shins while your hands support the upper body. For even more advanced users, you can then continue to crunch your legs or pike up, just like you can see in the video below.

If you want to concentrate on the oblique abdominal muscles, you should begin by lying on your side. Utilize the arm that is close to the ground in order to support the upper body. The elbow must touch the ground while your forearm must rest on the ground, in a perpendicular manner to your body. The next step is to lift gently your body in a straight and rigid plank position, utilizing your arm together with the side of your foot for support. Perform the same on the other side. If you want a simpler mode, utilize your knees instead of your toes as support for your lower body. 

So there you go! Now you know exactly why and how to plank. Don't forget to share your planking experience with us and your personal records in the comments area below.

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