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Last Updated on March 18, 2021

7 Things That Will Happen When You Do Planks Every Day

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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.

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      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

      Reference

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      Last Updated on September 23, 2021

      Best Bodyweight Workouts For Beginners (The Complete Guide)

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      Best Bodyweight Workouts For Beginners (The Complete Guide)

      Think you can’t get a great workout or build muscle with your body weight? think again. Getting fit doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple, safe, and effective with bodyweight workouts you can do anytime and anywhere for the rest of your life.

      Regardless of whether you are an athlete, recreational exercise enthusiast, or someone who hasn’t lifted anything but small children or everyday household items, using your body weight as resistance is one of the best ways to get and keep your body in tip-top shape for years to come.

      What Is Bodyweight Training?

      Bodyweight training or workout uses your body as resistance and is essential for gaining and maintaining muscles, especially as you age. According to the National Institute of Health, beginning as early as age 30, we gradually lose muscle mass and strength as a natural part of the aging process.[1] The rate of loss varies from person to person and will increase due to a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional selections. If you don’t do anything about it, the average human will lose 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade. But there is excellent news. With the addition of daily movement, weekly strength training, and proper nutritional choices, gaining muscle is more straightforward than you will expect.

      If you want to build confidence, endurance, move better, feel stronger, and lose weight, start with bodyweight workouts. Your body is one of the most fantastic fitness machines ever created to handle life’s physical demands and challenges, and it is always available to you. With a bit of effort, consistency, and proper progressive programming, you will not only improve your fitness level, but you will also continue to feel mentally focused, and you might even minimize the effects of the aging process.

        Photo Credit: Kaileen Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Photography

        Need more convincing?

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        Jane M. Taylor, MS, CSCS, PN L1, Owner/Coach of Raw Fitness Performance, says:

        “Mastering bodyweight strength is crucial if you plan to add strength training to your overall fitness plan. Having coached thousands of athletes, adults, teens, and kids, I apply the same movement paradigm to everyone, especially beginners.

        First, can you get in position? In other words, do you have proper mobility and stability? You do? Great.

        Next, can you get in and out of position? That’s bodyweight strength—movement with control.

        Spending time practicing bodyweight workouts is time well spent. Not worrying about an external load allows you to groove the movement, laying down the foundation and establishing the fundamentals to eventually express more significant amounts of strength with weights when you are ready to progress.

        Not only that, no matter where you go, you’ll NEVER miss a workout!”

        Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

        Here are 12 benefits that will motivate and excite you to put your body to work.

        1. It helps improve any muscle imbalances, especially from rounded shoulders and tight hips from sitting too long (hello, new work from the home model).
        2. It works the whole body.
        3. It lays down an excellent foundation for future weighted programming.
        4. It helps improve strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, and coordination.
        5. It can increase your confidence.
        6. It saves time going to the gym.
        7. It can be done anywhere, so there is never an excuse not to work out.
        8. No equipment is necessary.
        9. It never gets boring.
        10. It’s free.
        11. It’s great for any body type.

        Will I Build Muscles With Just My Body Weight?

        Yes!! Following an intense workout, muscle fibers break down and need to repair. It’s during this repair phase that the muscles will strengthen and grow. Note that for this process to occur, the body must be pushed outside of its comfort zone. Using external resistance, aka free weights, barbells, or bands, will speed up this process and is a fantastic addition to any strength program, but it is doable with just your body weight.

        As you improve, the trick is to continue changing your training variable (sets, reps, intensity, time under tension). Once you have mastered your technique, it is time to take it to the next level by mixing high-intensity exercises with exercises performed slowly, focusing on engaging the muscle during the contraction phase, which I will demonstrate in the video.

        Let’s break down a few beginner exercises and body parts to get you started.

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        First, there are seven basic movements the body can perform; pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, twisting, skipping, jumping. From these seven, there are many different variations for each body part which I will show you below. With bodyweight workouts, you work all your muscles, including your heart, as you elevate your endurance.

        1. Back – Plank Push-Ups, Back Extensions
        2. Chest – Push-Ups, Incline Regular, High to Low Plank
        3. Arms – Modified Side Plank, Side Plank Hip Drop, Dips
        4. Core/Hips – Planks (high and low; you may perform off your kitchen counter), Elevated Mt Climbers, Opposite Arm Leg Reach, Bear Crawl Hold, Isometric Knee Press (Single and Double Knee Hold), Heel Drops (Single and Double Heel Drop), Deadbug, Crunches, Floor Bridge
        5. Legs/Hips
        6. Quadriceps – Seated Bent Knee Extensions, Seated Straight Leg Lift
        7. Hips – Side Leg Raise, Deadlifts, Prone Leg Lifts, Glute Extensions
        8. Squats – Chair Squat, Step Out Squat, Plie Squat, Wall Squat Hold
        9. Lunges – Step Ups, Stationary, Side Lunge, Curtsy Lunge, Swing Lunge

        Designing a Bodyweight Workout Program

        With bodyweight workouts, the variety is endless and can be applied to any current life situation. Whether you have 10 minutes or an hour, use the simple format below to keep your muscles constantly guessing. If you are just starting, begin with 20 minutes twice a week for two to four weeks. As your fitness level improves, increase the time and amount of days/week.

        The greatest thing about bodyweight workouts is there are multiple variations, and you will never get bored. Select an exercise from each category. Always starting with a movement that works numerous muscles at once ex push-ups and squats, then move to exercises that work smaller muscles, aka dips for the triceps.

        Best Beginner Total Body Workout

        Beginner: two times a week

        (Repeat 2 x 10 to 15 repetitions)

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        1. Plank Push-Ups

        1. Begin on your elbows on an elevated surface such as your kitchen counter or dining table.
        2. Step your feet back and together so you are supporting your body weight on your elbows.
        3. Maintain a straight line from the top of your head to your toes.
        4. At the same time, brace your core by pulling your stomach muscles in towards the back of the body and begin to retract your shoulder blades as if you are squeezing a pencil, then push the counter away with your core and elbows and come back to the starting position.
        5. Perform the prescribed repetitions (reps).
        6. Your whole body should move as a unit.

        2. Push-Ups

        1. Begin by placing your hands shoulder-width apart on an elevated surface such as your kitchen counter or dining table.
        2. Step your feet back and together so you are supporting your body weight on your hands, maintaining a straight line from the top of your head to your toes.
        3. At the same time, brace your core by pulling your stomach muscles in towards the back of the body and begin to bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the counter, then straighten your arms and push back up to the starting position.
        4. Perform the prescribed reps.
        5. Your whole body should move as a unit.

        3. Step-Out Squat

        1. Begin standing with your feet together.
        2. Step out to the right and lower your hips back behind you, pushing through the heels. Keep the knees behind the toes.
        3. Stand up and step together, tucking the tailbone under and squeezing the butt at the top.
        4. Perform the prescribed reps.
        5. Repeat on the left.

        4. Stationary Lunge

        1. Step out about hip bone/hip distance.
        2. Step the right foot back and stagger your stance about the same distance as the length of your leg.
        3. Keep the back heel off the ground and begin to bend into both legs, lowering your body towards the floor.
        4. Be sure to place more of your body weight through your front heel and keep the front knee behind the toe.
        5. Perform the prescribed reps.

        5. Hip Bridge

        1. Lie on your back, either on the floor or couch.
        2. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.
        3. Press through the feet, squeeze your butt and press the hips to the sky.
        4. Lower down 1/2 way, then repeat.
        5. Perform the prescribed reps.

        6. Isometric Knee Press

        Depending on your core strength, begin with one side at a time or both legs on a tabletop.

        Level 1: Single-Leg Knee Press

        1. Lie on your back, either on the floor or couch.
        2. Bend your knees and place your right foot on the floor.
        3. Keeping the left knee bent, bring it up off the floor into a 90°-angle (otherwise known as tabletop position).
        4. Place the left hand on your thigh.
        5. At the same time, push your hand into your thigh and thigh into your hand. You should feel your abdominals contract.
        6. Hold that contraction for 10 sec, then pause.
        7. Perform the prescribed reps.
        8. Switch sides.

        Level 2: Double Knee Press

        1. The exact format as above, only this time, both legs will be in tabletop.
        2. Keep the abdominals braced for 10 sec, then pause.
        3. Perform the prescribed reps.

        Conclusion

        If your goal is to move and feel better in your body and continue to progress to an advanced fitness level, begin with bodyweight workouts. Not only will it lay down a solid foundation, but it will also help you minimize injury and give you the confidence to keep progressing to more challenging workouts.

        Commit to yourself and future strength gains by incorporating bodyweight workouts into your weekly routine. I promise you won’t be sorry.

        More Beginner Workouts You Can Try

        Featured photo credit: Fortune Vieyra via unsplash.com

        Reference

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