For those who want to achieve optimum fitness, developing or strengthening your core is a fundamental step to achieving maximum results. Weight lifting and using machines or free weights aren’t the answer to core building, but a simple and cost effective way is to perform planking. Your local Wesley Chapel chiropractor can even give you tips on proper form to make sure you’re not doing more harm than good.

Planks are basic to core building and core building is developing your obliques, lower back and abs, which are important muscles for balance, stability and overall strength. While some other exercises also cater to developing these areas, performing planks engage all of these muscle groups at the same time providing the best way to develop your core.

Planks are not separate exercise entities, but are incorporated in other forms of exercise such as yoga and body weight exercises. Nevertheless, you may perform several planks and side planks to ensure optimum core development. The following are some of the basic planks and side planks that you may employ:

Basic Planks

  • Front plank

The basic plank is the front plank. In this technique, the person assumes a standard push up position without the need to do pushups. Instead, maintain the position and make sure that you form a straight line from your head to the heels. Be conscious about the position of your buttocks as this usually drop or elevate after sometime.

  • Elbow Plank

A harder variation of the basic plank is the elbow plank. Instead of supporting your body with your hands, use your elbows for support. The toes should still be on the ground and maintain your hips steadily.

Alternative Planks

After performing basic planks after some time, alternative planks should be employed to further strengthen the core. The rule in planks is the lesser limbs you have on the ground for support, the harder your core muscles work to maintain alignment. Alternative planks include:

  • Hands-free and leg-free planks

Hands free planks are performed usually in bars or balance beams wherein your abdomen only serves as your support. On the beam, lie on your abdomen so your body is perpendicular to the bar and keep your hands on your side.  Maintain a straight alignment of your body.

  • One arm planks

If you are not yet accustomed to a hands-free plank, you may perform a one arm plank. Take one arm alternately to develop both sides of the body.

  • One leg planks

Aside from taking one arm off the ground, you can also take one leg off alternately from the basic plank position. This ensures that both your legs are trained and strengthened.

Side Planks

Side planks develop the muscles on the sides or the obliques. On a side plank, use one arm/elbow and one leg to support your body while you remain suspended in the air on a side position. To make side planks more effective, you can start with a basic plank and assume a side plank and back to a basic plank.

Planks and side planks are more effective when maintained for a specific duration. For beginners, you may start with a minute then gradually increasing the duration as you progress with your workout.