Planks...More Than What You Think
It’s New Year’s Resolution season! Many people are getting back into the gym to get those abs before the summer. One very popular activity is planks. Did you know there are so many more benefits to planks than just working your core? Furthermore, are you sure you are doing planks properly to get the best results? Planks are for more than just adults, so get your children involved in your workouts too!
Benefits of planks
Most people do planks to help strengthen their core, but planks can do so much more.
Postural strength: Posture is a very important component to keeping healthy. Having good posture helps improve ho
w the body moves by placing the body in the best possible position to reach and carry heavy objects. It is also very important for children. Children who have weak postural muscles often have difficulty with handwriting and other fine motor tasks.
Shoulder and rotator cuff strength: Because planks are completed on your elbows or hands, your shoulders are working to assist with stabilizing your entire body. When completed properly, all of the muscles must work together to successfully complete this task.
Core strength: Planks require core engagement to maintain the proper position. When you have a stronger core with strength in the postural muscles, you are less likely to experience back pain. This is because a strong core is better at stabilizing your spine. It is also able to absorb and transfer heavier loads when lifting or carrying objects and children.
Improve balance: Planks engage many muscles from your legs into your core. They also require balance to remain in the proper position. Planks can be completed in a variety of positions that decrease the amount of support provided, therefore, challenging your ability to balance.
The proper plank
See chart and pictures below for how to complete the proper plank.
Where to start
For those who are not as strong or children, a regular plank may be too challenging when starting out. The good news is planks can be made easier. Start by doing them against the wall. Once you master that, do a plank on a table top, coffee table, or couch. Continue to lower the surface in which you are completing the plank until you are able to properly do it on the floor. You can also start by completing planks on your knees instead of on your feet.
Variations of planks
Make planks fun! Once you master the proper plank, you can find ways to make it more challenging.
Challenge yourself or others for how long you are able to hold the position.
Try planks on 1 arm, but remember to keep those shoulders in 1 line.
Change the surface. Instead of doing planks on a hard floor, use a pillow, a dyna disc or a bosu ball. You can place it under your arms or feet.
Do planks on your hands instead of on your elbows. This is a good way to prepare for completing push ups.
Who can help?
Physical therapists are able to help people of all ages doing planks. Whether you are an adult working out to stay fit or a child trying to improve their strength for posture, a physical therapist can help you strengthen the muscles needed to improve your technique. If you are experiencing pain, the PT will also help address this issue so that you can return to the activities you enjoy. We, at Synergy Family Therapy Specialists, want to help you improve your plank technique and achieve your individual goals!