One of the best things you can do to create overall strength, balance and posture is a simple exercise known as a plank. To plank, one holds their torso off the ground via hands, feet or knees depending on fitness level. While holding this position the ultimate goal is to maintain a straight line from head to heal. It’s this simple action that packs a powerful punch of health benefits. Here are five reasons why one should plank on a daily basis:
Easy to Modify- Depending on your fitness level a plank can be adapted to any ability. For example, a beginning variation would be to hold the position on the elbows and knees. More advanced option would be to balance on one leg or arm. This versatility allows anybody to reap the benefits of planking.
Overall Core Strength- The action of having the torso horizontal to gravity creates a co-contraction in the core muscles. Meaning that the spinal muscles and the abdominals have to contract at the same time to achieve the straight line desired when in a plank position. When executed well, this action has been proven in many health studies to reduces back pain and improve overall spinal strength.
Better Posture- Not only the core, but the whole shoulder girdle, hips and legs are working very hard to maintain the position. Resulting in correct “whole- body” alignment; where the ears, shoulders, ribs, hips, knees, and heals all line up when standing.
Increase Flexibility- Planks are a great way to stretch the backside of the body, especially the hamstrings, feet, toes, and muscle groups that are often stiff from prolonged sitting. It’s a simple move that provides the best of both worlds, stretching and strengthening.
Balance- Since planks can be done in so many different ways, makes it’s an excellent option to improve balance. Such as doing a plank on the physio ball small intrinsic muscles that stabilize joints are triggered to engage and strengthen. In the end overall better balance and stability are established in the body.