Workout Idea of the Week: Daily Plank Regimen

Could this be the daily exercise you are missing?

The one that I do every single day: Planks. Why? Planks target and strengthen the entire body: arms, legs, shoulders, and core. This is the one exercise, hands down, where I have seen the most in toning, Especially in my abdominal area, but the benefits of including a daily regimen goes way beyond strengthening and toning abs. Yes, that is correct, planks do not “just” get rid of the muffin top.

More than just rock solid abs (as if that isn’t enough!)

Improves Overall Well-being

Do you sit at a desk all day? Planks target the in the shoulders and behind the thighs that are most commonly stiffened throughout our work day. This stiffened condition can lead to tension. Planks target these muscles and provide a release of tension and stress in our muscles. While doing planks, you hold your body still and tight in a meditative state. Mediation is linked to anxiety suppression and stress relief.

Fits Into the Busiest Schedule

You can plank at the gym, work, home, park, anywhere. It is quick and convenient. Plank only take a matter of minutes. Adding in a plank routine to your daily schedule and is totally doable without creating time constraints, and for the days you can’t squeeze in that hour workout routine, you can still give up 5 minutes to an overall body experience and plank. Try this five minute plank workout. The results will speak for themselves.

Reduces Back Pain & Prevents Injury

Plank exercises target upper abs, lower abs, oblique muscles and lower back muscles.   By doing planks you are strengthening your core muscles which support and stabilize the entire body. These are the muscles that literally hold you up. Strengthening the core muscles can reduce back pain by providing greater support, stability and protection to the spine.

Targets Specific Muscles Groups

Use a variety of plank exercises to achieve whole body results. Each variation targets a specific part of the body giving you over your results, for example to flatten the belly pooch try the forearm (elbow) plank. For this exercise you will get in a raised push-up position except your forearms will remain on the floor. With your back flat and abdominals in, hold the pose beginning in 30 second increments, gradually working your way up to a 3 minute forearm plank.

Intensifies Any Workout

You control your own results by increasing the time you hold your plank position, and you control results by the intensity of the plank exercise. The longer you hold the plank position, the the workout will be. To start, you should perfect the forearm plank for proper position and work up to holding the pose for 1-3 minutes. As you continue to include planks in your daily workouts, you should gradually find it easier to increase the hold time due to increased muscle strength.   If you are a beginner or if you are trying out an plank variation, hold the pose for 30 second increments until you feel familiar with the exercise and gradually increase

How Do I Plank? –

Check out my own plank regimen, and let me know what you think!

5 Minute Beginner’s Plank Workout
Forearm (Elbow) Plank           1 minute
right side plank                    30 seconds
forearm (elbow plank)           1 minute
left side plank                    30 seconds
leg lifts                                    1 minute
forearm (elbow) Plank          1 minute

 

After beginning the 5 minute , I began challenging myself to complete longer hold times and more advanced plank exercises.

5 Minute Intermediate (not exactly advanced, yet!) Plank Workout
Forearm Plank                               1 minute
right side plank                              1 minute
forearm plank lift left leg       30 seconds
forearm plank lift right leg     30 seconds
left side plank                              1 minute
leg lifts                                          1 minute
forearm (elbow) Plank                1 minute

 

Time is an issue for me because I, like most everyone else, seem to always be in a hurry. Instead of lengthening my plank time, I am experimenting with more advanced moves. In both of the above plans the minutes are consecutive. I try to limit breaks as much as possible. My goal is the five minute plank challenge! I will keep you posted, and remember the first 30 seconds of any plank regimen should be a forearm plank.

Good luck & happy planking!

jt

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