Planks – benefits, variations, muscles it works on

Plank is the simplest form of exercise that one can do. If it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.

Doing plank poses is easy. Holding it in your workout clothes is even easier, but just for a few seconds. It’s variations vary from easy to high intensity. It’s a classic workout move that works the muscles from your head to toe. It’s a simple equipment-free move that offers so many benefits. In this article we address in detail how it will get you into the proper shape, what muscles it targets & what’s its proper form.


Crunches are undoubtedly the most common abdominal workout, but it might not be that effective for developing core strength and toning abs. Core workouts improve your stability, reduce the injury & maintain mobility. Plank is a highly effective alternative to crunches.


Plank is the simple, but effective core workout which helps in building stability & strength in the entire body. Plank can offer a lot of benefits but it’s primary goal is making your exercise perpendicular to the floor, your belly facing down, lifting up the torso from the ground either the elbows or hands. The form of the exercise can appear to be similar to being stuck in the extended push-up position without moving the body up or down. It might sound nicer & forgiving compared to the push-ups sets, but plank can turn into a strenuous workout very quickly. Before moving further make sure you get yourself premium quality workout clothes, they help with motivation and getting the best of your workout.

  • Plank is the popular pose that is incorporated in most of the yoga routines – hot yoga session, sun salutations & cardio centric yoga, all incorporating plank pose. It can be held for many seconds or used as the intermissive pose which is helpful in connecting different parts of your routine.
  • Plank can be used effectively as a part of your training regimen by professional athletes, who alternate among pushups, situps, planks & hold crunches, for extended durations which are determined by the timer & ends by ringing the coach’s whistle.
  • A lot of professional sports, such as hockey & football, utilize planks as a major part of the exercise regimen. It’s highly effective when it comes to boosting strength in the wide area of human muscles.

Why are planks so special?

A few reasons make planks so popular. It’s a favourite exercise for most people. One must understand why plank is important before you get started with this workout. Because once you start it there’s a higher probability that it will stay as a part of your workout regimen. It’s a body weight workout, bodyweight workouts are done under the strain of your own body weight. The things about body weight workouts can be done almost anywhere because they are equipment free. You don’t have to buy expensive equipment.

Body weights workouts work very well for the core & since you rely on the bodyweight, while gaining weight. Plank workouts engage a tremendous amount of muscles in the body, that makes them look appealing for the training, endurance, strength name it. It’s even more beneficial if done with cardio training. Planks can be performed by people of almost every age.

Muscles that planks work on:

Plank is the full body workout meaning it will target the muscles of your upper body, core & lower body.

  • Core muscles: Though you balance your whole body weight on the arms & toes, most of the work planks are done on your core. Particularly, your obliques, rectus abdominis & transverse abdominis get engaged.
  • Upper body: Muscles in the upper body, like rhomboid major & minor, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, pectorals, serratus anterior, biceps, deltoids & triceps get worked up while you do a plank.
  • Lower body: Core muscles & lower body are connected actively, meaning they help your body to get stabilized in the plank position. It targets your quadriceps, gluteal muscles, that are attached with your abdominal & back muscles.

How to perform a plank

Select the position from which you extend the whole body strictly. Get on your all fours. Get into the plank position by beggin on your fours, your face down with the forearms & toes touching the ground. Your elbows should come directly underneath the shoulders & forearms facing forward. The head should be in a relaxed position & you should look at the floor.

Engage the abdominal by drawing the navel at the back of your spine. Keep the torso straight & rigid & the body aligned in line without bending. It’s the neutral spine position. Make sure both of your shoulders get down, creeping up toward closer to your ears. The heels should come over your feet. Hold your position upto 10 seconds. And then release the floor. Gradually work for holding it upto 60 seconds.

Benefits of the plank

Following are some of the benefits of performing planks.

A strengthened core

A strong core plays an important role for performing everyday activities. The plank workout is excellent for your muscular endurance and your muscles’ ability to sustain exercise for a specific time interval. It’s an isometric exercise that keeps the muscles contracted in a position while you perform it.

Lower injury risk

Core workouts if not performed correctly can cause injury. Situps & crunches exerts a tremendous pressure on the neck & lumbar spine, specifically when done incorrectly. Plank activates your core muscles with lesser compressive forces, which reduces the risk.

Reduce lower back pain

A strengthened core is very effective when it comes to reducing pain in your lower back pain. The abdominals support the lumbar spine, help in providing structural stability & assist the pelvis movement. Which increases your overall stability and reduces lower back pain.

Boosted performance

Your core connects your upper and lower body. Which plays an important role in your athletic activity. When it comes to athletic performance, a strengthened core is associated with boosted power output, maximized force and better performance.

Planks Variations:

Following are the variations of plank movement that will work more effectively on your core.

Forearm plank: This plank variation is an amazing way of feeling the burn. Targets your upper body, core and arms.

Side planks: Targets your obliques and upper body.

Walking plank: Effective for boosting strength and stamina.

Reverse plank: Targets your lower abdominals, very effective for burning your calories.

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