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How to Keep Fit at Home – Do the Plank

 

What does a piece of sawn timber have to do with how to keep fit at home? Actually, nothing! “Planking” as an exercise, is fantastic! It is full body exercise that you can do with no equipment at all. It will keep you in tip-top physical condition if you practice it every day.


Always check with your health care provider before beginning any new exercise plan. Do not attempt the plank if you have suffered lower back problems.


Skip the Sit-ups

Sit-ups and crunches are falling out of favor. Why? Because they are hard on your back. When your curved spine is on floor, lower back and neck injuries are possible.

Many people over-use sit-ups, which require you to repeatedly flex the lower spine. This can result in bulging or herniated disks. Sit-ups and crunches target just a few muscles, while the plank is a total body exercise.

What Will Planks Do for Your Body?

Planks give you better balance of mid-line muscle strength between the front, back and sides of your body. They help build your deep inner core muscles. With effort you will surprise yourself with a great six-pack beach body!

Unlike other exercise, the plank activates 100% of your abs. This directly targets belly fat. It tones and flattens your stomach muscles.

You can do planks anywhere with no special equipment. Strengthen your back and reduce chronic pain by daily use of this exercise.

As you use your muscles, you decrease tension in your body that has built up over time, making you feel less stressed. Your lifted mood will make you feel stronger and happier.

You will look great at any age with good body posture, increased confidence, and plenty of energy to out-perform your friends. Daily practice will provide continuous improvement.

Here is a Challenge for You

 

 

This video is an active training session, with 16 planks done one after the other. It is a challenging workout that will test anyone’s fitness level!

If you are not ready for such an active challenge, you can perform each plank separately.

Benefits of the Plank – Why You Should Work Your Core

  • Strengthens deep core muscles in your midsection that are involved in most body movements
  • Flattens and tones stomach muscles
  • Protects and strengthens your back
  • Develops, tones, and strengthens your arms, shoulders, and neck muscles
  • Exercises your glutes – which are often ignored in many exercises
  • Develops the muscles in your thighs
  • Decreases the risk of many injuries
  • Takes very little time – Sixty second intervals, max 10 times a day. (10 minutes)

What Happens if You Do Planks Every Day?

You will see results if you do the plank every day! You should see results within 40 to 45 days of regular workouts. With daily practice your body will grow and develop!

The plank works the deep core muscles of your mid-section. If you keep up the good work, you will see a flatter stomach, and maybe, eventually a six-pack.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither is your body. It is what you practice as a daily habit that brings lasting results!

Description of the Classic Plank

  • Begin in the push-up position with your forearms and toes on the floor, legs extended, with feet together.
  • Keep your torso straight and ridged and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
  • Face the floor with your head facing downward.
  • Make your hands into fists to work your abs harder.
  • Keep your feet close together.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds to a maximum of 60 seconds. Repeat 10 times a day.
  • Remember to deep breathe slowly and steadily.
  • When your form begins to suffer, rest. Repeat the exercise later.

You will find your body is trembling, but it should not be in pain. If you feel any pain, STOP. You should not go into the “place of pain”.

7 Common Mistakes in Planking

  1. Hips too high
  2. Breathing too shallow (Breathe deeply, keep the oxygen flowing to your muscles while exercising.)
  3. Hunching upper back (Train for a strong, straight back and shoulders.)
  4. Straddling legs (Keep feet close together.)
  5. Goose neck (Keep neck in line with the spine.)
  6. Shrug shoulders up towards the ears (That is the lazy way.)
  7. Long holds, doing the plank for more than 1 minute (Holding the plank for more than one minute could be harmful to those with heart problems.)

6 Things that Happen When You Do the Plank Every Day

You will improve core definition and performance. You will find yourself being able to do things that you didn’t think you could do:

  1. Increase your ability to lift weight
  2. Improve your sports performance particularly with jumping
  3. Give you that 6 pack look
  4. Improve your ability to bend at the side and at the waist
  5. Give you a well-supported back
  6. Provide you with a well-toned booty

Variations of the Plank

  • Forearm plank
  • Side plank
  • Back plank
  • Walking plank – Begin in a plank position, take one hand and foot to the side followed by the other hand and foot. Continue several steps left, then return those steps back. Repeat. Concentrate on your core and not on speed.
  • Sliding plank – like the walking plank, except it uses sliding disks to maintain contact with the floor.

(From my research, I feel it is best to do 1-minute planks 10 times a day, rather than increasing the time each plank is done. It does more for your body to increase the frequency of the exercise than it does to increase the time.)


Increase Your Metabolism

Another benefit will be that you will experience a boost to your overall metabolism. You will burn more calories more efficiently, even when you are asleep.

How to Keep Fit at Home

If you do the plank with proper form, you can build muscle without overdoing pressure on your spine and hips.

In truth, learning to do the plank may be the longest 60 seconds of your life, where you sweat and tremble until you collapse in relief. But just think of the significant changes it will make to your body!

Back pain will be reduced, your belly will be flattened, and your muscles will be strengthened. This will ensure strong support for your entire back. It will significantly improve your posture and keep your bones and joints in correct alignment. Plus – you can do all of this right in your own home!

Keep Progressing

Once you have mastered proper plank technique, and can do it well in proper form, go on to more difficult variations. This is better than merely increasing the length of time holding the plank. There is the one-armed plank, the one leg plank, the walking plank, and the sliding plank.

You can gain immense benefit doing as little as a 20 or 30 second plank, if it is done in proper form. The plank prepares you for movement. Life is about movement, not just holding still.

In Conclusion

The plank prepares your body to go forward with better strength. With well-developed muscles, you can significantly reduce back pain and maintain good posture, better balance, and better flexibility. You can look better, healthier, and more confident.

What great results from this one-minute exercise – repeated 10 times each day. That makes 10 minutes of exercise for fantastic results! And it is an exercise you can do from the comfort of your own home.

How to keep fit at home? Learn how to do the plank!

Please Leave a Comment

I would love to hear from you. Have you ever done the plank? What other exercise are you familiar with that give all these benefits, in such a short amount of time?


 

Disclaimer: I am not a physical trainer or a doctor. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. No content on this site should be substituted for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner. The information contained here is for informational purposes only. It is from my research and personal experience.

2 thoughts on “How to Keep Fit at Home – Do the Plank”

  1. Lovely article, the plank has always been a classic bodyweight exercise that targets your core with a burning sensation. It really does feel like time slows down when planking, a minute feels like an entire hour. I do have a question, however.

     You mentioned the plank, “Develops, tones, and strengthens your biceps, shoulders, and neck muscles.” How does it target the biceps if it’s a core exercise? 

    You also could have mentioned how the planking really improves your balance because of how it targets your core. You should definitely write about each ab group like the obliques, lower and upper abs, and transverse abdominis with exercises for each. Definitely would love to keep reading your fitness articles, keep it up! 

    1. Hi Jose, Thanks for stopping by with a comment! Planks are a total body exercise. Your arms and biceps hold your body weight up in the planking position. Thus your muscles are being toned and developed, making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises. Not as great perhaps as lifting weights at a gym, but for those of us at home, it will still give you a well-toned look using no equipment at all.

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