Planks are isometric core strength exercises involving the maintenance of an often difficult position for an extended period of time. Planks are also called hover, front hold or abdominal bridge. Planks are commonly used in yoga, pilates and sports training. Plank exercises provide benefit in strengthening exercises of the back, abdominal or shoulder muscles or the core. Planks specifically focus on the core muscles that are used for body support and stabilization. The longest duration of plank exercise is 1 hour 20 minutes. Those who are able to maintain the position for this long duration may already exhibit a strong core.

Plank is considered by experts as the best form of exercise one can employ to strengthen the core. Plank is essentially simple because you don’t need exercise equipments. Planks can be done literally in all places with flat surfaces anytime. The main objective of planks is to assume a position with a spine in a straight position.

Plank exercises have many variations. The most common planks used are front planks, side planks and reverse planks.

Front Planks

Front plank is the most common plank exercises that involve holding the body in a push up position. The body weight is often placed on the forearms, toes and elbows. The specific muscles that are involved in front planks include:

Vertebral muscles
Transverse abdominis of the abdomen
Rotator cuffs
Gluteal muscles
Gastrocnemius or the calf muscles.

How to do Front Planks

The following procedure discuses how to assume a front plank:

Choose a flat surface
Lie on the floor with face down.
Lift your upper trunk onto the forearms and keep your elbows under the shoulders.
Raise the lower part of the body to allow the toes and the forearm to have contact with the floor.
Maintain your shoulders and hips aligned and avoid arching your spine.
Contract you abdominal muscles and the gluteal muscles for a more effective plank.
Maintain the position for 45 seconds. Allow 30 seconds rest and repeat the procedure three times.

Side Planks

The side plank is also a common form of plank exercises. The muscles involved in side planks include:

Transverse abdominis
Gluteal muscles
Adductor hip muscles
External and internal obliques

How to do Side Planks

The following procedure discuses how to assume a side plank:

Lie on your side, either left or right,
Prop your upper trunk on the forearm and allow the elbow to be in line with the shoulders.
Lift the lower parts of your body allowing only the side of the foot to touch the floor.
Ensure that the body is in a straight plane and the hips are aligned with the shoulders.
Focus on contracting your leg and gluteal muscles.
Maintain the position for 45 seconds. Allow 30 seconds rest and repeat the procedure three times.

After you have mastered these simple planks, you can advance further by assuming more complicated positions and also using various plank devices. Mastering planking may eventually make the totality of your body stronger and more stable. Planks are only one of the exercises that Dr. Mohr, your local Tampa chiropractor, recommends for strengthening your core and staying pain-free. If you’re in the Tampa Palms, Wesley Chapel, New Tampa or surrounding areas, come by and visit the best-rated chiropractor in Tampa, FL for an in-person demonstration. Doing these also prevent possible injuries to the musculoskeletal system making planks a holistic exercise.