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Three Reasons Why You Should Be Doing Abdominal Planks

Heather Suhr

When it comes to exercise, sometimes doing simple movements will result in big gains. One of the exercises that challenge many areas of fitness is by doing abdominal planks. It may appear easy to do, but it is truly quite challenging!

In order to do planks correctly, you must stabilize the trunk portion of your body in a straight line and hold it as consistently as possible. You are including strength and endurance as a part of your abdominals, back, and core muscles. If that isn’t encouraging enough, here are three reasons why you should consider doing planks.

Develop a stronger core

Core muscles are an important foundation for a well-rounded fitness routine. Often times it is neglected in an exercise program, when it is an important foundation for balance and stability, which contributes to being able to perform basic daily movements. (1)
By doing abdominal planks, your inner core muscles will be strengthened and can help you achieve that core strength and a toned midsection. (2) In addition, if you are experiencing back problems, then doing core exercises can help strengthen your back muscles. (3)

Increase flexibility

As you develop strength in your core muscles, your body will also start to increase flexibility in the muscles of the backside especially in the shoulders, collarbone, shoulder blades, hamstrings, and portions of your feet. In order to stretch your side muscles, doing side planks will do the job. To further enhance the stretching benefits, try a rocking plank by moving a few inches back and forth, or to the sides. (2,4)

Improve balance and posture

In order to improve balance and posture, you must do the planks correctly and this can be obtained by properly engaging your abs to remain more upright in position. To enhance balance capabilities, planks can be performed on a stability ball. In addition, planks will engage all of the muscles needed to maintain proper posture in your back, chest, shoulders, abs, and neck. (2,4)

You’ll feel better about yourself

As for any new fitness routine, the additional benefit is that you will naturally feel better about yourself and your body. With a properly engaged core muscles, you will be able to stand and sit up straighter with more ease and comfort. Try starting with shorter intervals, such as 15 seconds long and do 3 or 4 repetitions. Then build your way up to a longer holding time, balance modifications such as using the stability ball, and perhaps do more repetitions.

If you are able to hold and abdominal plank for at least 2 minutes, it’s a sure sign that you’re fairly fit. (2) An interesting fact is that the world record for the longest holding plank is 4 hours and 26 minutes! Now, that is a very long time and I didn’t think that was even possible! Mao Weidong from China achieved this feat on September 26th, 2014! (5)

Sources for this article include:
(1) www.mayoclinic.org
(2) fitness.mercola.com
(3) www.acefitness.org
(4) news.health.com
(5) www.guinnessworldrecords.com