You already know that an essential component to any effort to reach a healthy weight and achieve a slim figure is a good exercise routine. Exercise will help target localized areas of fat, while at the same time giving your body more energy to burn additional calories. But thanks to a lack of time, level of difficulty, or personal preference, lots of people opt not to exercise on a regular basis and miss out on the kind of physical activity that’s needed to stay healthy.
For those of you who don’t like to exercise regularly, today we’re going to introduce an alternative that might become your best friend in your struggle to lose weight and stay healthy. This exercise, sometimes also referred to as a “challenge,” is known as “the plank” and it’s gaining popularity around the world because it’s so effective. It focuses on working your core abdominal muscles, but it also works other muscle groups in the body, making it ideal for weight loss.
To see the results the plank can provide, all you need is the willpower to keep at it. You need to do this exercise every day, at least once a day, for several minutes. And it’s not an easy exercise, we should tell you – you have to train yourself to support your body weight using only your hands and feet for several minutes in a row. But by holding this position, numerous muscle groups are activated and as a result, you get a stronger back, toned glutes that are free from cellulite, shapely legs, flat abs, and toned arms.
How to do “the plank” – a great abs exercise
The plank is a static form of exercise, meaning that you’re required to hold your body in a particular position for some amount of time, without moving.
To begin, lie face down on the floor. Bend your elbows 90 degrees so that they’re aligned with your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels, and you should only be supported by your forearms and toes. Remember that your elbows should be placed directly below your shoulders.
In order to hold this position, you’ll need to tighten your abdominal muscles and not relax them. Your hips should stay high in the air and you need to hold the position for several minutes. Initially you can start with one or two minutes, but the idea is to increase your stamina and gradually reach five or more minutes at a time.
- Feet: You may find it difficult to keep your balance, so increase pressure on your abdominal muscles.
- Legs: They should be straight and together, to keep pressure on your core abdominal muscles and the lower part of your spine.
- Buttocks: Your glutes should remain tight throughout this exercise, as they in turn activate numerous muscle groups in the lower part of your torso.
- Lower back: This part of the body is very important for the successful completion of this exercise. Your lower back should remain straight. Under no circumstances should it curve – imagine it pressing firmly against a wall.
- Abdomen: The entire exercise should tighten your abdominal muscles so that you feel pressure, but don’t hold your breath.
- Elbows: Your elbows should be underneath your shoulders, forming a straight line to keep from straining them.
Tips for beginners
The idea behind “the plank” is to hold this position as long as you can. It’s not a particularly easy exercise, but the benefits are incredible. If you’re not used to getting a lot of exercise and want to start this routine, you can begin with holding the plank for 10 to 15 seconds. If you exercise regularly, you can start with up to two minutes. Then you can take a break and do up to five repetitions.
If you’re a beginner, don’t try to break the world record any time soon. Remember to increase your time gradually, until you can hold this position for several minutes without a problem.
Benefits of “the plank”
- Toned glutes: This exercise works the muscles of the buttocks and hamstrings. Because of this, it helps tone your glutes and incidentally also helps fight cellulite.
- Stronger back: The plank works the muscles of your back, shoulders, and neck. It’s recommended to prevent future problems in the neck and lower spine. It’s also a good way to relax the muscles of your back after heavy lifting.
- Toned legs: You might feel a slight burning sensation in your legs while doing this exercise. Don’t worry – that means you’re doing it right.
- Flat belly: This position forces the side and lower abdominal muscles to contract and tone.