The Plank: An Effective Exercise to Strengthen Your Core

People love doing ab exercises due to their physical and aesthetic benefits. The plank is a perfect way to strengthen your core. Discover how to do it correctly here!
The Plank: An Effective Exercise to Strengthen Your Core

Last update: 18 October, 2020

Isometric exercises are all the rage because they aid core muscle development. Although they’ve existed for a long time, they’ve become more popular in recent times. The plank is one of the most common.

Basically, it consists of exercising your abdominal muscles without the need to move or do repetitions. However, you’ll see that it allows you to exercise a greater number of muscle groups than you may have believed.

Experts have cited Joseph Pilates as the inventor of the plank. They believed it was created in the 1920s. Nevertheless, it was virtually unknown until the beginning of the new millennium. The publication 101 Tests for Athletes helped to promote it.

Exploring isometric exercises

Isometric exercises focus on the tension the muscles experience when people hold them in fixed positions. The range of motion is really short, almost non-existent.

They consist of applying resistance to an object that imposes resistance while avoiding movement. The clearest example of this is trying to push a wall from a static position.

These exercises have considerable results, especially when it comes to strengthening your abdomen. The plank follows this logic and is recommended in the most prestigious gyms in the world.

How to do a traditional plank

Basically, you must lie face down on the floor, such as when you do push-ups. Unlike this exercise, you need to support yourself on your forearms and place your elbows at shoulder height.

The lower limbs remain straight, as well as the rest of your body. Then, support your body on the tips of your toes to create a space between your body and the ground.

You must pay attention to the short and imperceptible but important movements that generate resistance. You need to stretch your legs and tense your thighs. Then, push your buttocks down and contract your core. After that, hold the position for as long as possible.

Side planks, a variation you can add to your workout routine

For those who don’t know, you can also exercise your obliques by doing planks. This exercise forces you to support your body only on one forearm, balancing yourself with the other arm.

This type of exercise makes your body take the form of a “ramp”. The legs and buttocks are your main support, and you make all the effort with your abdomen. Your trunk should remain straight and, if possible, in a neutral position.

The goal of this exercise is to hold the position while you create resistance. You can add some difficulty by lifting your leg or upper arm. Loss of balance usually creates more resistance.

The muscles the plank exercises

The plank is a fairly complete exercise. Although it mainly works out the core, it also strengthens other areas.

This exercise also works out the buttocks, hamstrings, and biceps femoris. By the ribs, the plank stimulates the serratus anterior due to resistance in the arms. In fact, even the obliques are exercised in the prone position.

The plank helps strengthen the buttocks area. Also, the rectus abdominis is impacted due to the contraction you make. For all of these reasons, you must carefully monitor the pressure you exert on each muscle group.

The plank has multiple benefits

Beyond muscle toning, the plank has many other benefits. For example, it strengthens the deep muscles, which allows greater protection of the spine.

Another positive aspect is that it can help you improve your posture. By doing this exercise, you develop greater strength when standing. This can help people who are really tall.

In addition, it helps you do other exercises because it strengthens your core. With this workout, your lunges and ab routines will be more efficient. And the best thing is that you can do planks at any time and even in the comfort of your home!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Carlos López Calbet, Francisco López Calbet. Marco teórico-práctico para la correcta ejecución del trabajo abdominal (I). Universidad de La Rioja.
  • León Prados, Juan Antonio; Calvo Lluch, África; Fernández Martínez, Antonio. Fundamentos básicos de la ejecución holística de ejercicios abdominales para estabilizar
    la columna lumbo-abdominal. Apunts Educación Física y Deportes, núm. 99, enero-marzo, 2010, pp. 20-27. Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.