Plank exercise has recently become one of the most fashionable and discussed. Many of its adherents argue that standing to support every day for a couple of minutes, you will quickly lose weight and gain strength. Is it so? Let’s figure it out together.
We also give a step-by-step exercise technique, talk about its benefits and debunk popular myths about the bar.
What is the plank exercise and why do it
A plank is a stand on the hands or elbows with a simultaneous tension of the muscles of the back, abs and hamstrings. Exercise helps to strengthen muscles, improve posture, and increase endurance. Standing on the plank, you need to hold the position as long as possible without stopping your breath. The plank is considered one of the best static exercises, but it also helps to tighten the hips and glutes.
Plank types and execution technique
During its existence, the plank has acquired many variations. We tell you how and why to do each of them.
How to do the bar on extended arms
This is the classic plank that is considered most suitable for beginners. Take a lying position, palms are located strictly under the shoulder joints. Straightening your arms, push yourself up, stretching your body in a straight line – for this you need to move the pelvis forward, tighten the muscles of the press and buttocks. Do not throw your head back, the neck should be a continuation of the body. Legs can be brought together or slightly apart when doing the plank.
How to do the elbow bar correctly
The second most popular type of plank is a little more complicated than the previous one, but it relieves the load from the elbow joints and additionally works on the pectoral muscles. From the supine position, rise onto your elbows, bent at a right angle. The palms can be locked together or placed on the floor. The main thing here, as in all other plank options, is to stretch the body as much as possible to the string. The elbows should be under the shoulders and the muscles tense to hold the position.
How to properly do the bar on outstretched arms with a raised leg
Take the same starting position as for the standard hand plank and lift one leg. Hold for a few seconds and switch legs. Make sure that during this exercise the pelvis does not fall to the side.
How to do the bar correctly with a raised hand
Stand on a regular plank and extend one arm in front of you. Hold this position, then return to the starting position and change hands. This plank can be combined with the previous one by lifting the arm and the opposite leg off the ground at the same time. An excellent exercise not only for muscle strength but also for developing balance!
How to do a bar on the elbows with a raised leg
Stand in a plank on your elbows and lift one leg off the floor, after a while return to the starting position and lift the other leg. Instead of legs, you can alternately raise your arms or simultaneously opposite arm and leg. In this exercise, the oblique abdominal muscles are involved.
How to do a side plank correctly
Stand on a straightened arm, turning your body to the side, and bring your body to a straight line, straining your abs. Place your feet one in front of the other, or leave them lying on top of each other. Pull your free hand up. To make the exercise more difficult, you can raise your upper leg, while making sure that your pelvis does not move. The side plank engages the muscles in your abdomen, back, and glutes.
How to do a side plank on your elbow
Follow all the same actions as in the previous paragraph, but with support not on a straight arm, but on the elbow. Do not forget to push the body up, keeping a straight line in it – only then the plank will be effective.
How to do plank exercise with a knee pull
Stand in a classic arm plank and pull your right knee to your left elbow, then repeat on the other side. To complicate things, quickly change your knees to simulate running. When distracted by pulling up the knee, it is easy to forget that you still need to maintain a straight line in the body – control the correct position.
How to do a bar with a rise to the top
This plank combines the benefits of an elbow and handstand. First, stand in the plank on the elbows, then place your right hand on the palm, repeat the same with the left hand. Thus, you will go to the plank on your hands. Hold for a while and return to your elbows.
How to do a side plank with knee flexion
Stand on a regular side plank. Place your upper hand behind your head, as if twisting onto the press. Pull the knee of the upper leg to the elbow of the bent arm. Roll over to the other side and repeat.
How to do a wide bar correctly
By doing this version of the plank, you will maximize the muscles of the forearms, lower legs, hips and abs. Stand in a classic plank, then spread your arms and legs as wide as possible, lowering down, but not touching the floor.
How to do the reverse bar correctly
Want a firm buttock? Then quickly master the reverse plank! We sit on the floor, put our hands behind our backs and push ourselves up, leaning on our feet and palms. The hands should be under the shoulder joints, with the fingers pointing towards the heels. In this position, lift the pelvis as high as possible, contracting the gluteal muscles. Stretch the body in a straight line.
How to do a side plank with weights
Option for advanced. Take dumbbells in your hands and stand on the classic plank. Turn into a side plank by raising your hand with a dumbbell up. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
Plank exercise: how to do it correctly and how much to hold?
Beginners are better off starting at 20 seconds. Do this exercise for a couple of days and then increase the time by 10 seconds daily. If you find it very difficult, add 10 seconds not every day, but every two days. If you regularly do the exercise, you can stand on the plank for a minute, and then even longer!
Slimming plank exercise: how to do it, right?
For weight loss, the plank can only be useful as one of the components of a complete workout. Do not entertain the illusion that simply doing the plank a couple of minutes a day will lose weight. Moreover, the plank is contraindicated for people with a large excess weight. If you are aiming at losing weight, you need to combine strength exercises and aerobic activity: for example, cardio training or at least regular walking. A cardio workout to burn fat should be at least 45 minutes long and should be practised two to three times a week. Conclusion: the plank is good in combination with other workouts, it alone is not enough for weight loss. However, there are plank variations that alternate between static and dynamic and burn much more calories than a regular handstand.
Running in the plank
Take a position as in a classic plank, not in your hands. Twist, pulling your right knee up to your left elbow. Jump to another leg, this time bringing your left knee up to your right elbow. Continue to quickly change legs as if you are running in place.
Press the body up from the plank position
Your abs will burn with this exercise! Stand in a plank on your elbows and push your pelvis up strongly so that your body takes the shape of a corner. Return to starting position. The exercise is hard, and it is enough to start with ten repetitions, subsequently increasing the load.
Side bends from the plank exercise
Stand on a regular elbow plank and tilt your pelvis, touching the floor with your thigh. Repeat on the other side. This exercise works great for the oblique abdominal muscles.
Take a plank position on your hands. Move your legs with a jump so they are wider than your shoulders. Make sure that a straight line is maintained in the body.
Side plank with hip lowering
Stand on the side plank and slowly lower your lower thigh to the floor, slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times and go to the other side.
Contraindications for performing the plank
Exercise – as a medicine, is useful only with the correct dosage and only taking into account the contraindications. There are cases in which it is impossible to do a plank:
- high blood pressure
- back injuries
- exacerbation of chronic diseases
- eye diseases
- recent abdominal surgery
- carpal tunnel syndrome
How to do plank exercise for a woman
The plank is not recommended to be done in the first days of menstruation, and, as we have already said, it is contraindicated in pregnancy and with a recently undergone cesarean section. Otherwise, there are no restrictions for women when performing the plank.