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Effects/Benefits of Plank Exercise.

What is a Plank Exercise :

The plank is an Isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a difficult position for extended periods of time. The most common plank is the front plank which is held in a Push up position with the body’s weight borne on forearms, elbows, and toes.

Ways to perform a Plank exercise: 1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor. 2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. 3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. 4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle. 5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

Why plank?

You are probably wondering what the craze is all about regarding this great exercise. Planking has become increasingly popular for core strengthening, and for good reason: it works – in large part because it engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Planks have exploded as one of the greatest core workout moves, and for good reason—they’re killer for your abs while also working the rest of your body. If you’re getting a start on your summer swimsuit bod, planks might be your best friend. While improved strength and muscle tone are reason enough to add planks to your workout routine, this move has many other health benefits that often go overlooked. Add these core strengthening exercises to your abs workout for a new way to build strength and stability.

Following are the benefits of plank exercise.

1) Strength: The plank exercise helps strengthen midsection, upper-body and lower-body muscles along the front of your body. Planks also strengthen inner core muscles that support your joints. The rectus and transverse abdominis that form your outer and inner abdominal muscles, respectively, are primary supporters during plank exercises. The abdominal obliques also stabilize the plank position isometrically. Upper-body stabilizer include the pectoral and serratus muscles. Lower-body stabilizers include the quadriceps, sartorius and tensor fasciae latae.

2) Flexibility: Planks are a great way to stretch out the back of your body, particularly your legs. Pressing your thighs up into position stretches your hamstrings while also stretching the arches of your feet. Side planks stretch out our sides, as well, especially when you extend your arm up over your head in line with your body. Planks provide the best of both worlds—stretching and strength training in one. Plank exercises also stretch the arches of your feet as your toes hyperextend to support your weight.

3) Aesthetic : Plank exercises have aesthetic benefits that can enhance your appearance by improving posture. Planks activate core muscles, including the transverse abdominis and iliopsoas, which stabilize your spine and hips. Plank exercises help prevent or reverse postural deficiencies, including lordosis and posterior pelvic tilt. Lordosis, or swayback, results from abdominal weaknesses that overextend your back; it tends to make your buttocks stick out.

4) Maintains Balance: One of the reasons that planks and side planks are such great core exercises is that they require you to engage your abs to the max in order to stay upright. Particularly during side planks or planks with extensions, your balance is tested and therefore, improved.

5) Lowers back pain: Planks work for back pain because they strengthen your core, which has the pleasant “side effect” of reducing back pain. As the plank exercise requires minimal movement while contracting all layers of the abdominal fascia, it is an excellent way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low-back pain.

6) Mind peace/Stress Inhibitor: Plank exercises might also help to suppress anxiety. Symptoms of depression may improve if you perform plank exercises. Virtually every exercise has the potential to give you a mood boost, and planks are no exception. Planks are unique, however, in that they help stretch and ultimately relax muscles groups that often become stiff and tense from prolonged sitting. The tension release that planks provide is uplifting for your spirit. Plank exercises stretch muscles that commonly stiffen throughout the day and contribute to stress. Sitting at your desk might tighten muscles along the back of your thighs when your legs remain bent for several hours of sleep.

By Neha Rai.

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