This little unassuming pose uses the body’s own calisthenics to produce great results which can be achieved with prolonged repetition. To the casual observer, it may look like you’re not doing much but in actuality, you’re targeting and activating muscles that would require a heck of a lot more workout time to achieve
Plank Pose Benefits:
- It is one of the best moves that not only strengthens your core muscles (abs), but it also tones and strengthens your chest, your lower back, your quadriceps and your legs.
- Doing Plank Pose is a great way to build strength and stamina.
- Weak abs can lead to poor posture.
- Poor posture can cause back pain and since plank pose strengthens the arms as well as the spine muscles, it will help improve your posture.
- Back pain will lessen over time as the core muscles become stronger.
- Plank Pose targets all the major stomach muscles; Rectus Abdominus, External Obliques, Internal Obliques, Transversus Abdominus and the Hip Flexors.
- Increasing the body’s muscle mass will increase bone strength and aid in weight loss and weight loss maintenance.
- Plank Pose helps build strong, lean muscles. The higher your body’s muscle mass, the greater your calorie burn.
Plank can be considered a transitional pose between Downward Facing Dog aka Down Dog (Addho Mukha Svanasana), Upward Facing Dog aka Down Dog (Urdha Mukha Svanasana) and Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana).
It is a part of the flowing sequence, Sun Salutation.
- From Down Dog, walk forward on hands until arms are directly under shoulders.
- Hold body and butt in a straight line, no sagging as that can lead to back pain as well as back injury.
- Hold for several breaths or until you start to shake, usually 15-30 seconds if you’re just starting out.
- From plank, you can transition to Up Dog, Side Plank or three-legged plank.
As with many exercises, there are several variations of plank that can be used depending on your fitness level.
- Side Plank is performed by holding the body up on one hand, legs extended, hips and feet stacked on top of each other. A slight variation can be done on your elbow or with legs bent, stacked on top of each other and hips on the floor.
- Three- legged plank variation, from plank position, lift one leg up and hold for several breaths, (repeat on other leg).
- Half plank variation, can be performed with knees on the floor, holding upper body up on hands and elbows, back straight. This variation can be used to build up strength and work up to full plank position on hands and toes.
- Reverse plank is done facing upward. While in a siting position, place hands on floor by hips and push up. Body is extended into a straight line with heels on the floor and toes pointing toward the ceiling or sky, if you’re outside. Look straight up and take several breaths.
Any variations of plank can be beneficial, as it’s used to build up strength and stamina as well as create lean muscles.
- Challenge yourself by holding the pose for a breath or two longer every time you perform this move.
- Take breaks in between holds by resting in Child’s Pose (Balasana).
- Challenge yourself to see how long you can hold the pose.
Plank Pose is a great ab workout that will not only build strength and stamina but create lean muscles too. It will improve your balance and help reduce back pain.
The stretching and extending aspect of this pose will offer tension relief from body aches and let’s not forget the endorphins the body will produce, happy stress relieving endorphins.
Your back and your abs will thank you.