Improving posture has many health benefits and by performing the plank on a daily basis this can be achieved.
It strengthens your back, chest, shoulders, neck and abs which in turn makes it easier to keep your shoulders back and down and your lower back in a neutral position whether you are sitting or standing.
If you are looking to begin daily plank exercises then the 2 main ones to begin with, the ones I use initially with clients are the forearm plank (on the elbows) or the straight arm plank.
Forearm Plank is good for working the abdominal muscles effectively and gives you a stronger lower back. If you have a weak core I would recommend starting this exercise on your knees and then progressing to a full forearm plank.
You should start increasing your core strength through time increments. Start off with 10 seconds at a time. You could do 3 short bursts of 10 seconds and slowly increase the time by either 5 or 10 seconds each time. It’s important to increase the time slowly as increasing it too soon will incur poor form and the exercise not being executed properly.
The Straight arm plank is beneficial for improving the abdominals also, both inner and outer abs as well as the obliques which help to stabilise the position. Also working during this exercise are the legs, arms and shoulders thus giving you total body conditioning. As with the forearm plank you should start with small time increments to increase core strength.
How long should I perform a plank for?
There are many different theories on how long you should hold a plank to achieve maximum benefit. World record setting athletes can hold a plank for ages as endurance training but for anyone just looking to see results holding a plank for anywhere between 10 seconds to 1 minute is beneficial. As I mentioned before, you should only hold the plank for as long as the form is good!
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