The Full-Body Exercise Everyone Should Be Doing
With our September Plank Challenge in full swing, it’s only fitting that we break down the move of the month! As you know, planks are one of the exercises that 9Round trainers call out during active rest breaks between rounds, and that’s because of this exercise's many benefits! If you haven’t committed to our month-long Plank Challenge yet, it’s not too late to join! Here are a few reasons you should RSVP ‘yes’ to this invite:
1. It’s the exercise you can do virtually anywhere.
Planking is a relatively simple exercise that doesn’t require any special equipment, which means you can do this move pretty much anywhere! If you can’t make it to 9Round for a hard-hitting workout, don’t consider it a day wasted. Instead, plank it out wherever you are! If you have room to lay down, then you have room to plank.
2. Planks can help strengthen more than just your abdominal muscles.
While you primarily feel the burn in your core, planks also engage other muscles that you might not associate with this exercise. Just like your exercise routine, you get out of it what you put into it, which means it’s all about your form and the work you put into performing it properly! In a low plank position, you can utilize the muscle groups in your back, shoulders, and hips. With all of these muscles in use, this exercise becomes more than just an ab workout.
3. Poor posture? Planks might be a solution for you!
Planks are designed to keep your body in a steady, unwavering line. Our spines have a natural curve to them, and other abdominal exercises can cause pain in the lower back because they require you to lie flat on the floor. Having a stable core during a plank keeps your spine in a neutral position, which helps avoid putting pressure on your lower back. If you’ve experienced discomfort in your back while planking, here are a few things to avoid that could help you really perfect your form, and result in a better posture overall:
- Do: Avoid arching your back too much. Instead, keep your back curved slightly downward, almost like a cat arching its back.
- Do: Keep your core tight, and pull your belly button in. This takes the pressure off of your back and focuses it on your core.
- Don’t: Don’t raise your glutes to the sky. This isn’t the downward dog, so avoid exaggerating the arch in your back too much or changing up your posture, resulting in a completely different exercise.
4. Planking can give you a boost in balance and stability.
Maintaining your posture throughout a plank can lead to other benefits you might not realize. According to the American Council on Exercise, this underrated exercise sets you up to perform other core exercises efficiently and effectively . Because planks are designed to help you hold and maintain your posture, your balance can naturally improve as a result.
5. Did we mention holding a plank can help build muscular endurance?
Muscular endurance refers to your body’s ability to maintain muscular contractions, or consistent muscle force, for an extended amount of time . As you participate in our month-long Plank Challenge, you’ll be training your muscles to sustain longer plank times. Throughout the month, you might even notice an enhanced ability to perform daily activities that are more demanding on your body, like yard work or playing outside with your kids.
With all of these benefits from just one exercise, are you ready to get your plank on, 9Rounders? We thought so! Don’t forget to check out the Facebook event page and post your planking progress throughout the month!
1. Gerard, Jim. “ProSource™: February 2014 - Reality Check: Are Planks Really the Best Core Exercise?” ACE, Feb. 2014, www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/prosource/february-2014/3680/reality-check-are-planks-really-the-best-core-exercise.
2. McCall, Pete. “7 Different Types of Strength and Their Benefits.” Different Types of Strength | 7 Types and Their Benefits | ACE Blog, 29 June 2015, www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/5495/7-different-types-of-strength-and-their-benefits.