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If you want the full benefits of planks in your HIIT workout, having a good technique to avoid injury is the only way to go. Planks are a challenging bodyweight exercise that involves holding your body in a flat, horizontal position. It’s very similar to holding a push up for a maximum period of time. As an isometric exercise, the plank also works your back, glutes and hamstrings. The core conditioning you receive from planking not only builds a better bikini body. It supports proper posture, reduces and prevents back pain, increase your flexibiliy, and improves balance.
How To Do a Plank Correctly:
To perform a basic plank:
- Kneel down on the ground and then place your forearms on the ground and in line with your head.
- Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Lift your knees off the ground and support your body’s weight on your toes and forearms.
- Actively contract your shoulder blades (latissimus muscles) to pack the shoulders down in relation to your torso.
- Once your body is fully supported, tighten your core muscles. Engage your core by pulling your belly into your spine. Hold the plank position for 20 seconds.
- Avoid collapsing your lower back.
- Keep your knees slightly bent
- Squeeze your glutes to stabilize the bottom half of your body.
- Hold this position for 15 to 60 seconds depending on what you are able for. Remember, it’s better to maintain proper form for a shorter period of time than to hold improper form for a long time. Eventually, you can work up to holding for longer periods.
Benefits Of Planks
Improves Muscle Performance And Definition
When performed properly and often, one of the benefits of planks is building your deep inner core muscles. These muscles lay the groundwork for that six-pack look. As your abdominal muscles become stronger with planks, your waistline will tighten. Responsible for giving you your “six pack”, a more defined rectus abdominis improves sport performance. Stronger glutes not only support the lower back, but also give you a more firm booty.
Reduces Back Pain
Planks are great for reducing back pain because they do more than strengthen your core. They also strengthen your back muscles. While some ab exercises, like crunches, can potentially injure the back, planks will can help the muscles become stronger. Because the plank is carried out maintaining a neutral spine, constant strain caused by flexing and extending of the spinal column is eliminated.
Planks increase flexibility in your posterior muscle while also building strength. The muscles around your shoulders, collarbone, hamstrings, and even your feet expand and stretch during the exercise. Many plank variations can increase stretching. For example, a side plank can stretch you obliques, while a rocking plank can stretch your lower abs and legs.
Improves Balance and Posture
Planks work all the muscles you need to maintain proper posture. Your muscles in your back, chest, shoulders, abs, and neck are all engaged. Different variations of planks, such as side planks, are beneficial for building balance. When done properly and regularly, you’ll find improvement in the way you sit or stand.
Increased Metabolism and Fat Burn
While one planking may not be an intense fat burning cardio method , such as running, cycling, or swimming. It is still an efficient way of burning fat. Because planking is a strength training exercise, your metabolic rate increases even after you’ve stopped. This is something that doesn’t happen with cardiovascular activity.