Monojit Ghosh is a former gymnast and fitness trainer and gymnastics coach at Art Corner Gymnastics, Bangalore
Planks are integral to exercise routines. They strengthen muscles and improve body balance. Here are some benefits of including planks in workout routines:
- Provides relief from back pain
- Increases core and back muscle strength
- Builds deep inner core muscles
- Improves body posture and balance
- Reduces belly fat
The plank position is one of the easiest exercises that you can do anywhere and without any equipment. It uses your own body weight.
Warm up by doing some rotations and stretches. This prevents injury and pain.
Do it right
Lie on your stomach and rest on your arms under the chest. Keep your elbow and toes on the floor or mat. Lift your whole body. Ensure that you
- Line up your elbows directly under your shoulders.
- Keep your neck in neutral position.
- Keep your back somewhat rounded.
- Contract your quads.
- Firm your abdomen and buttocks/glutes.
- Hold your whole body in a straight line.
- Try to hold the plank position for at least 20-30 seconds. Gradually, you can increase the hold timing and/or increase the variety of planks.
A full-plank workout
Try this full-plank workout to improve fitness.
Basic elbow plank. Do this on all four sides. While doing it on your side, make sure your body is tight.
Elbow plank to superman hold. From the elbow plank position, raise your right hand and left leg to horizontal position and hold. After 20-30 seconds, change to the other leg and hand.
Plank to leg raises. From elbow plank position, kick one leg upwards, without changing your body position. Repeat 10 times for each leg.
Plank to hip raises. From elbow plank position, lower your hip, then raise it. Repeat 10 times.
Plank to mountain climbing. Start from the usual elbow plank position, then bend one leg and bring it towards your elbow. Switch and change legs. Alternate and repeat 10 times for each leg.