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Last Updated on March 18, 2021

7 Things That Will Happen When You Do Planks Every Day

7 Things That Will Happen When You Do Planks Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion.

Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do because they require a small time investment but offer the chance to achieve substantial results.

The Importance of Core Strength

There are numerous sites and blogs that detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. However,, these sites often neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such, a strong core can greatly improve your ability to move and exercise more effectively.

Also, they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection, such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and so are important aids in preventing injuries. However, for them to be most effective, you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, plank exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles overall, making them an amazingly effective exercise to perform.

If you believe you’re too busy to get into an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s Busy Yet Fit Course. It will help you get into the exercise habit, where you can incorporate planks each day.

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The Benefits of Planks

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as a plank workout. However, planks benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a plank exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This is encouraging their buildup and development, which is great news if you like to do press ups.

When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps, and by holding a plank position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. This makes planks a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep-developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your buttocks. These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding planks helps develop the muscles in your thighs, too.

What is even better is that plank exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in a plank position.

7 Things That Happen When You Do Planks Every Day

1. Improved Core Definition

Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles because they engage all major core muscle groups, including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external obliques, and the glutes[1]. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

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  • Transverse abdominis: Increased ability to lift heavier weights.
  • Rectus abdominis: Improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
  • Obliques: Improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
  • Glutes: A supported back and a strong buttocks.
  • Core-Strengthening Exercises That Target Every Ab Muscle | Fitness | MyFitnessPal

    2. Decreased Risk of Back Injury

    Doing planks is a type of exercise that allows you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. Planks can strengthen your back muscles and ensure more support and stability for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

    3. Metabolism Boost

    Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The core muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy, even when sedentary, because they are some of the largest muscles in the body.

    This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate, but it will also ensure that your metabolism remains high all day long.

    4. Improved Posture

    Planks have a great impact and improvement on your posture. A strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits. It keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment, which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained, but it also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

    A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position, so you will suffer less back pain. On top of everything else, someone with good posture looks healthier and more confident overall.

    5. Improved Balance

    Have you ever felt that when you try standing on one leg, you can’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you are just clumsy, but rather because your abdominal muscles aren’t strong enough to give you the balance you need.

    Many people assume that balance is mostly based on the legs, but most of the work is actually happening in your core as it keeps you stable and upright. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions, you will boost your balance and performance in every kind of fitness activity.

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    6. More Flexibility

    Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, as this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups—shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone—while also stretching your hamstrings, the arches of your feet, and the toes.

    With side planks added to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes,a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

    7. Improved Mood

    Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. This works because they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body.

    Imagine you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long. Your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours, and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day.

    These are all circumstances that put stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression…but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

    How to Hold a Plank Position

    Doing planks correctly takes practice, and it will be very difficult until you build up your muscles a bit. Here is an overview to help you get into a regular plank position:

    1. Get into a push-up position on the floor.
    2. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, and rest your weight on your forearms for a forearm plank position.
    3. Keep your torso straight and rigid, and form a straight line from head to toe with no sagging or bending.
    4. Your head is relaxed, and you should be looking at the floor.
    5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
    6. Remember to breathe by inhaling slowly and steadily.
    7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefitting from planks when your form is good.

    Here’s a great video to demonstrate how to do a proper plank:

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    Furthermore, here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

    Plank 5 minute workout

      How to Plank Each Day

      You’re likely wondering how many planks each day are necessary to see benefits, and how long you should hold them.

      If you can only do one plank a day, then start with that. Aim to hold it for at least 60 seconds, but if you need to start with less, then do so, and build up from there.

      Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer, recommends striving to do three sets of up to 60 seconds, so this can be the goal you aim for when you begin your plank adventure[2].

      A Word of Caution

      You need to be cautious doing planks if any of these risks apply to you:

      • Prolapse
      • After prolapse surgery
      • Pelvic pain conditions
      • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
      • Recent childbirth
      • Obesity

      Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing planks regularly.

      The Bottom Line

      Planks are a simple and power-packed total body exercise that can help you build strength in your lower and upper body, engage your core, and stabilize your joints. Even doing just one minute of planks a day can achieve amazing results over time, so get started today!

      More Home Workout Exercises To Try

      Featured photo credit: Minna Hamalainen via unsplash.com

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      Szabo Laszlo

      Content Marketer and Fitness Enthusiast

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      Last Updated on April 14, 2021

      12 Best at Home Workouts (No Equipment Needed)

      12 Best at Home Workouts (No Equipment Needed)

      Covid-19 has certainly made getting to the gym more difficult, but if we’re honest, it was difficult before, as well. Between tiring days at work, helping the kids with their homework, and maintaining a social life, where do you find time to squeeze in an hour or two at the gym? Sometimes, the only solution to maintaining your health and fitness rests on the best at home workout.

      The good news is that it’s possible to train from home without any equipment and get fantastic results. As long as you’re pushing the body hard enough, you’re going to be fine. The bad news is that you may not know where to start.

      There are a plethora of different training regimens out there, and it’s difficult to know which one is best for you, especially if you’re used to live classes or in-person workout programs.

      This article will cover the 12 best at-home workouts that you can use for strength, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and mobility. There will be an exact breakdown of all the exercises, sets, reps, rest periods, and instructions required to stay fit, healthy, and happy while on lockdown.

      The following sessions are broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced workouts to accommodate any experience level. They are all bodyweight exercises that can be combined into a full body workout to build strength while working out at home.

      A thorough warm-up is also included to ensure that you don’t get injured. Please check each workout before you perform it to make sure that the exercises and movements don’t cause you any pain from previous or pre-existing injuries.

      If you need help getting into the habit of working out at home, you can try Lifehack’s free 30-Day Resistance Band Workout Challenge.

      Read on to find the 12 best at-home workouts you can use to upgrade your strength, burn some calories, and improve your flexibility while training at home.

      Warm-Up

      Complete the warm-ups below for 5-6 minutes before each of the best at home workouts you’ll find below. Complete each exercise for a total of 15 seconds at a slow to moderate pace, and your body will be ready to jump into more intense exercises.

      Repeat for 3-4 rounds, as this will help lubricate your joints, slowly elevate your heart rate, and get your body ready for exercise[1].

      • Exercise 1: Squats

        • Exercise 2: Lunge

          • Exercise 3: Leg Swings

            • Exercise 4: Star Jumps

              • Exercise 5: Push-ups

                • Exercise 6: Squat Thrusts

                  Dynamic Stretches

                  Complete the relevant dynamic stretches after your warm-up. For strength workouts, complete the stretches relevant to the session you’re about to partake in (e.g. upper body stretches before an upper-body workout).

                  For HIIT workouts, complete both the lower body and upper body dynamic stretches. For mobility workouts, you don’t need to do these.

                  Aim to do 15-20 reps on each side for 1 round.

                  Upper Body Dynamic Stretches:

                  • Exercise 1: Arm Swings

                    • Exercise 2: Arm Circles

                      • Exercise 3: External Shoulder Rotations

                        • Exercise 4: Torso Twists

                          Lower Body Dynamic Stretches:

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                          • Exercise 1: Step Throughs

                            • Exercise 2: Lying Side Leg Swings

                              • Exercise 3: Quadruped Kickbacks/Hip Circles

                                • Exercise 4: Leg Swings (Front & Side)

                                  Strength Workouts

                                  1. Upper-Body Strength Workout (Beginner)

                                  This is one of the best at home workouts if you’re a beginner looking to build upper-body strength. Complete all exercises with 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

                                  For exercises 2-6, use two water bottles to mimic weights. For exercise 7, you can use the couch or a chair to support yourself.

                                  • Exercise 1: Push-Ups — 2 sets, 5-10 reps

                                    • Exercise 2: Bent-Over Row — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                      • Exercise 3: Shoulder Press — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                        • Exercise 4: Floor Chest Press — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                          • Exercise 5: Lateral Raises — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                            • Exercise 6: Bicep Curls — 2 sets, 12-15 reps

                                              • Exercise 7: Triceps Dips — 2 sets, 12-15 reps

                                                2. Abs Strength Workout (Beginner)

                                                This bodyweight workout is great for building muscle tone in your abs. Complete all exercises with 30 seconds rest between sets, and use a yoga mat if you have one.

                                                • Exercise 1: Air Bike — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                                  • Exercise 2: Crunches — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                                    • Exercise 3: Russian Twists — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                                      • Exercise 4: Bridges — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                                        • Exercise 5: Plank Shoulder Taps — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                                          • Exercise 6: Flutter Kicks — 2 sets, 8-10 reps (each leg)

                                                            3. Leg Strength Workout (Beginner)

                                                            If you’re looking to add some strength to your legs, this is the best at home workout for that purpose. Complete all exercises with 30-60 seconds rest between sets. For exercises 3-4, you can use the sofa or a chair to support yourself.

                                                            • Exercise 1: Squat Kicks — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                                              • Exercise 2: Forward Standing Lunges — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                                                • Exercise 3: Bulgarian Split Squat — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                                                  • Exercise 4: Hip Thrusts — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

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                                                                    • Exercise 5: Romanian Deadlift (Use two water bottles) — 2 sets, 8-10 reps

                                                                      • Exercise 6: Standing Calf Raises — 2 sets, 12-15 reps

                                                                        4. Upper-Body Strength Workout (Advanced)

                                                                        Complete all exercises with 30-60 seconds rest between sets. With advanced workouts, you have to push yourself close to your limit, or to your absolute limit (until you feel like you really can’t do more). This will dictate how many reps to do.

                                                                        For exercises 6-7, use two heavy water bottles if you don’t have weights available.

                                                                        • Exercise 1: Vertical Wall Push-Ups — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                          • Exercise 2: Pike Push-Ups — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                            • Exercise 3: Towel Row — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                              • Exercise 4: Plyometric Push-Ups — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                • Exercise 5: Triceps Extensions (from plank position) — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                  • Exercise 6: Bicep Hammer Curls — 3-4 sets, until limit

                                                                                    • Exercise 7: Triceps Kickbacks — 3-4 sets, until limit

                                                                                      5. Abs Strength Workout (Advanced)

                                                                                      If you need more core support and strength, this is the best at home workout for those who are already comfortable working out. Complete all exercises with 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

                                                                                      With advanced workouts, you have to push yourself close to your limit, or to your absolute limit (until you feel like you really can’t do more). This will dictate how many reps to do.

                                                                                      • Exercise 1: Jack Knife Sit Ups — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                        • Exercise 2: Lying Leg Raises — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                          • Exercise 3: Plank Hand-to-Toe Touches — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                            • Exercise 4: Cocoon Crunches — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                              • Exercise 5: Plank Elbow-to-Knee — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                                • Exercise 6: Side Plank Reach Through — 3-4 sets, until limit

                                                                                                  6. Leg Strength Workout (Advanced)

                                                                                                  Complete all exercises with 30-60 seconds rest between sets. With advanced workouts, you have to push yourself close to your limit, or to your absolute limit (until you feel like you really can’t do more). This will dictate how many reps to do.

                                                                                                  For exercises 4-6, use heavy water bottles if you don’t have weights available.

                                                                                                  • Exercise 1: Pistol Squat — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                                    • Exercise 2: Bulgarian Jump Squat (use sofa) — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                                      • Exercise 3: Jumping Lunges — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                                        • Exercise 4: Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

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                                                                                                          • Exercise 5: Single-Leg Hip Thrusts — 3-4 sets, 1 rep before limit

                                                                                                            • Exercise 6: Single-Leg Calf Raises — 3-4 sets, until limit

                                                                                                              7. HIIT Workout (Beginner)

                                                                                                              This is the best at home workout for those who are new to HIIT training. Complete all exercises for 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest. Complete 4 rounds.

                                                                                                              • Exercise 1: Squat

                                                                                                                • Exercise 2: Toe Touches

                                                                                                                  • Exercise 3: Walk-Outs

                                                                                                                    • Exercise 4: Heel Flicks

                                                                                                                      • Exercise 5: Plank

                                                                                                                        • Exercise 6: Jumping Jacks

                                                                                                                          • Exercise 7: Mountain Climbers

                                                                                                                            8. HIIT Workout (Intermediate)

                                                                                                                            Complete all exercises for 35 seconds of work with 25 seconds of rest. Complete 5-6 rounds.

                                                                                                                            • Exercise 1: Squat Kicks

                                                                                                                              • Exercise 2: Burpees

                                                                                                                                • Exercise 3: Push-Ups

                                                                                                                                  • Exercise 4: High Knees

                                                                                                                                    • Exercise 5: Plank Ups

                                                                                                                                      • Exercise 6: Star-Jumps

                                                                                                                                        • Exercise 7: Cross-Body Mountain Climbers

                                                                                                                                          9. HIIT Workout (Advanced)

                                                                                                                                          If you’ve already been doing HIIT training for a while, this is one of the best at home workouts to keep you going. Complete all exercises for 45 seconds of work with 15 seconds of rest. Complete 7-8 rounds.

                                                                                                                                          • Exercise 1: Jump Squats

                                                                                                                                            • Exercise 2: Hand Release Burpees

                                                                                                                                              • Exercise 3: Lateral Shoot Throughs

                                                                                                                                                • Exercise 4: Tuck Jumps

                                                                                                                                                  • Exercise 5: Plank Toe Touches

                                                                                                                                                    • Exercise 6: Spiderman Push-Ups

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                                                                                                                                                      • Exercise 7: Sprawls

                                                                                                                                                        Mobility Workouts

                                                                                                                                                        10. Upper Body Mobility Workout

                                                                                                                                                        Hold each exercise for 15-20 seconds total, and do 2-3 sets. Slowly increase the range of each stretch until you feel tension, then hold before slowly releasing it.

                                                                                                                                                        This workout will help improve flexibility in your upper body.

                                                                                                                                                        • Exercise 1: Cat-Cow

                                                                                                                                                          • Exercise 2: Upward Dog

                                                                                                                                                            • Exercise 3: Chest Release

                                                                                                                                                              • Exercise 4: Child’s Pose

                                                                                                                                                                • Exercise 5: Reach Through (15-20 seconds each side)

                                                                                                                                                                  11. Lower Body Mobility Workout

                                                                                                                                                                  If you need more flexibility in your hips and legs, this is the best at home workout for you. Hold each exercise for 15-20 seconds total, and do 2-3 sets. Slowly increase the range of each stretch until you feel tension, then hold before slowly releasing it.

                                                                                                                                                                  This workout will help improve flexibility in your lower body.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Exercise 1: Scorpion Kicks (15-20 seconds each side)

                                                                                                                                                                    • Exercise 2: Seated Glute Stretch (15-20 seconds each side)

                                                                                                                                                                      • Exercise 3: Lying Quad Stretch (15-20 seconds each side)

                                                                                                                                                                        • Exercise 4: Lumbar Twist (15-20 seconds each side)

                                                                                                                                                                          • Exercise 5: Standing Hamstring Stretch

                                                                                                                                                                            • Exercise 6: Seated Hip Flexor Stretch (15-20 seconds each side)

                                                                                                                                                                              12. Spinal Mobility Workout

                                                                                                                                                                              Complete each exercise for 10 reps total, and do 2-3 sets. This workout will help improve your posture, alleviate lower back pain, and increase your flexibility.

                                                                                                                                                                              It’s highly recommended if you’re an office worker that spends most of the day sitting.

                                                                                                                                                                              • Exercise 1: Prone Back Extension

                                                                                                                                                                                • Exercise 2: Tail Wag

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Exercise 3: Quadruped Side Bend

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Exercise 4: Seated Forward Fold

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Exercise 5: A-Frame to Squat

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Exercise 6: Side-Lying Rotations

                                                                                                                                                                                          Final Thoughts

                                                                                                                                                                                          These are the 12 best at home workouts that you can use to level up your body, torch some calories, and enhance your flexibility while at home. Give these a go, and you’ll be well on your way feeling fitter, healthier, and more productive after lockdown is over!

                                                                                                                                                                                          More Workouts You Can Do at Home

                                                                                                                                                                                          Featured photo credit: Scott Broome via unsplash.com

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