My Top 5 Reasons For Planking

I base my clients sessions around body weight movements. I also structure many of my own workouts around functional movement.

Bodyweight workouts have become so popular due to how practical and simple they are.

These are workouts that can be done anywhere with no equipment and can really help you get into shape. The other reason why I like to use body weight movements is so that my clients can replicate the workouts we do in their own time at home. I call it PT homework.

One of the most important body weight exercises is the plank. I do 4 lots of planking for 1 minute with 30s rest in between 3 times a week, normally after my runs.

Here are my top 5 reasons why the plank has made a difference to my own body;

1. My Core Definition & Strength Has Improved

Planking is a great abdominal exercise because executed correctly you contract every major core muscle group: transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. All of these muscle groups are essential to strengthen. By strengthening these muscles I have found:

Transverse abdominis: I can perform lifts with greater weight.
Rectus adbominis: My movement execution especially in HIIT classes has enhanced. I can definitely jump a lot higher since starting my planking discipline. This group of muscles has also made a difference to a the definition of my core. So if you want a six pack, I’d definitely start planking!
Oblique muscles: I am able to bend and twist more easily and stabily which again enhances how well I can perform in other workouts like HIIT and in life tasks.
Glutes: I have noticed that my back strength has improved and it supports me better when running. The other thing is my booty has gained more shape. Who doesn’t want a JLO booty?

2. My Posture Has Improved Greatly

I’ve found that doing the plank 3X a week at least helps me to stand up straighter & be more stable. I am more conscious of this since having M.E. when I was house bound and lying down a lot. I can’t believe how strengthening my core has enabled me to have a correct posture this is due to my abdominal muscles being worked resulting in overall condition of my back, chest, shoulders & neck.

3. I’ve Reduced My Risk Of Injury

With all the running & HIIT workouts I love to do I know it is essential to look after my body if I want to carry on doing that for as long as I can. Having a strong core enables more body to be able to do exercises in all planes of motion. Doing the plank regularly and working on my core allows me to do the exercise as well as normal daily movements with zero pain. I’ve found that doing planks myself and with clients is a safe effective technique to build, strengthen & protect your spine & hips throughout movement.

4. My Balance Has Improved

I love Body Balance classes and Yoga so to stay looking stable this was a big achievement for me. No longer do I wobble around in tree pose! Having a more solid core has increased my the stability of my whole body. A strong core is so important for both balance and coordination. My focus has become better as before when I had a weaker core I found it a lot harder to find equilibrium. I now realise why people that do Yoga have amazing balance it’s because they can support each movement from their core so they perform at their best and keep themselves in alignment.

5. I’ve Become More Flexible Than I’ve Ever Been

I’ve found that being flexible is one of the most important benefits of doing the plank regularly. This movement expands and stretches every one of my posterior muscle groups:
• Shoulders
• Shoulder Blades
• Collarbone

What’s also interesting is at the same time it stretches my:
• Hamstrings
• Arches of my feet
• Toes

This has allowed me to run with more mobility & get even more out of my Yoga classes.

What’s great about the plank is that you can do it anywhere, at anytime!! So there really is no excuse, maybe while you’re boiling the kettle?

Have you found any other bodyweight exercises make a difference to your overall health?
I’d love to know.

Food For Thought

Sarah Ellen x

Photo Shot By Andrew Potter

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