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Posted on 09-15-2015
Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do daily. They require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.
Are you ready to devote ONLY 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong? Jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your daily routine!
1) You will improve core definition and performance. Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups: Transverse abdominus - increased ability to lift heavier weights; Rectus abdominus - improved sports performance, particularly with jumping; Oblique muscles - improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist twisting; Glutes - a supported back and a strong shapely booty.
2) You will decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back.
3) You will experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism. Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a daily basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 5-10 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate, but it will also ensure that your metabolic rate remains high all day long, even when you are sleeping.
4) You will significantly improve your posture. Through strengthening your core you will be able to maintain proper posture at all times because the muscles in your abdomen have a profound effect on the overall condition of your neck, shoulders, chest, and back.
5. You will improve overall balance. Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn't stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It is because your abdominal muscles weren't strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.
6. You will become more flexible than ever before. Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly. This form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups - shoulders, shoulder blades, and collarbone - while also stretching hamstrings, arches of your feet, and your toes. With a side plank added into the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body's weight.
7. I saved the best benefit for last! You WILL witness mental benefits. Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving your overall mood. They stretch out the muscle groups that contribute to stress (which we all have too much of these days) and tension in the body. Just think about it for a minute. You are sitting in your chair at home or work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too much stress on your muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression - but only if you make it a part of your daily routine.
Now, the last thing left I have to do is to give you a simple plank exercise you can do to achieve great results in only 5-10 minutes a day.
Here is a great chart that shows some of the best plank exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:
~Dr. Leland Patron
Rucker Chiropractic Performance & Rehabilitation
(Source: Szabo Laszlo)