The plank is a very simple but effective exercise that targets your body’s core and can help sculpt your waistline. It can even help improve your posture. Because it is a static exercise and uses your own body weight, the plank can be performed almost anywhere. If you have a few minutes at work or school, you can get a quick session done. It is also perfect for all levels of fitness. Whether you can hold the position for 20 seconds or 5 minutes, you will benefit from this exercise.
Straight Arm Perfect Plank
The most effective version of the plank is sometimes called the Straight Arm Plank. This is performed be lying facedown on the ground with your hands shoulder length apart. Push your body upwards as if you are doing a pushup.
Once your arms are fully extended, hold the position. Make sure to keep your toes grounded and your back straight. This is the most important element of the plank. There should be a straight line from your head to your toes, with no bend or arch in your back. This version offers less stability and, therefore, provides more of a challenge to your core muscles, chest and arms.
Hold this position for at least 20 seconds. As you continue, you can hold the position for longer, just make sure to keep your body in a straight line.
You may be more familiar with this version as it offers more stability. It is performed in exactly the same way as the Straight Arm Plank, with the exception that you weight is supported by your forearms instead of your hands. Try to keep your hands flat on the floor; if that bothers your wrists, you can clasp your hands.
This is great for beginners because it is easier to balance your body. Instead of keeping your legs straight, bend at the knees so both your toes and knees are touching the floor. This puts less stress on your lower back and will help prevent injuries if you are just starting out.
Single Leg Plank
This is a more advanced version of the exercise and requires excellent balance. Perform the plank as usual but once you are in position lift one leg towards the ceiling as far as you can and hold the position. Repeat with the other leg to complete the set.
If you attempt any new exercise, you should consult a professional trainer to ensure you're performing it correctly to reduce the risk of injury. Amarillo area residents can contact personal trainer Ralph Roberts for a consultation. He can assist you in reaching all your fitness goals.