Despite being an isometric exercise, planks are indeed an exercise. As you challenge yourself in plank position and with variations, you are increasing your heart rate and burning more calories than you would be just sitting around. Strengthening the core means that those muscles will need to burn more calories throughout the day to work properly.
Should you want to do planks but have weak shoulders, high blood pressure, or other concerns, use a stability ball to put you at an incline. You can also try side planks and reverse planks – both have the same benefits as regular planks.
Plank to combat depression and stress. Since planks are an exercise, and exercising releases endorphin, you get that runner’s high without ever running. Moreover, planks help release tension in the spine, energize the legs, and empowers you from the inside out.
Every time you hold your planks longer or do something more challenging, you will feel triumphant. Planks help even the deconditioned get back into a decent fitness routine.
Planks are perfect for targeting the entire system of abdominal muscles: the transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus, external obliques, and even the glutes.
You need to squeeze all of these muscles to keep proper alignment throughout the body. As you move through variations, you are moving from the core (which is what we should be doing 9 times out of 10) to turn, twist, bend, and reach.
Moreover, planks will incorporate all of the abdominal muscles, erector spinae, glutes and quads. They are number one for working the entire core, so you can tighten your belly.
When your entire core is being worked, the muscles that help keep you upright and centered are also strengthened. That means that your posture improves.
Such improvements aid in proper alignment and better respiratory and nervous system functioning. When you do not slouch and have a lengthened spine, you not only look leaner and more confident, you feel better.
Think of “functionality” as a cloud term for enhanced movement, coordination, and balance. Plank trains the abdominal for stabilizing the body no matter what you are doing. And when you know how to engage them correctly, you work more efficiently.
No matter what you do – dancing, running, biking, hiking, climbing, or swimming – a strong core is so beneficial to functional movement. This is because through planks the body learns how to fire all those muscles simultaneously.