The planking exercise, also known as the plank, is a core-strengthening exercise that targets several muscles in your body. It is a static exercise, meaning you hold a specific position rather than performing dynamic movements. Here’s how to do a basic plank:
- Start by getting into a push-up position on the floor, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your toes touching the ground.
- Engage your core muscles by contracting your abs and tightening your glutes.
- Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels, ensuring that your body forms a plank-like position.
- Keep your neck in a neutral position, looking down at the floor to avoid straining your neck.
- Hold this position for a specific duration, such as 20 seconds, gradually working your way up to longer periods as you become more comfortable and stronger.
Variations of the plank exercise can target different muscle groups or add intensity:
- Side plank: Instead of balancing on your hands, you balance on one forearm and the side of your foot, with your body forming a straight line perpendicular to the ground. This variation targets the obliques and side muscles.
- Plank with leg lift: While in the plank position, lift one leg off the ground, keeping it straight. Hold for a few seconds, then lower it back down. Repeat with the other leg. This variation engages the core and glute muscles more intensely.
- Plank with arm raise: While in the plank position, lift one arm off the ground, extending it straight in front of you. Hold for a few seconds, then lower it back down. Repeat with the other arm. This variation challenges your core stability and engages the muscles in your shoulders and upper back.
The planking exercise is beneficial for improving core strength, stability, and posture. It also engages other muscle groups, such as the shoulders, back, and glutes. Remember to maintain proper form and listen to your body. If you experience any pain or discomfort, it’s advisable to stop and consult a fitness professional.