I think that most of us know the importance of having a strong core, especially those who have made fitness a part of their lifestyle. I used to read about planking in many health and fitness magazines, articles, blogs and online workouts, but would conveniently plan to avoid this exercise because I found it to be too hard. I would essentially just stick to variations of stomach crunches and sit ups, and sure my mid-section would look flat, but it wouldn’t feel strong. My back still curved as I did bench presses; it would swing and sway as I did heavy bicep curls. This ill form of not keeping a straight back when lifting would inevitably lead to injury I began to realize, and it would get in the way of lifting heavier. Little did I know that having a stable and strong core directly affects performance and correct form. I consulted with a trainer at the gym about building a strong abdominal region, and she advised that nothing works better than the good old plank. That was months ago, and I decided from that day on to keep on planking, no matter how hard it was for me. I increased my planking time from 20 seconds to just shy of two minutes and have experienced gains such as:
- better breathing and less hunching over when fatigued during jogging
- holding better form when bicep curling (I only rock and sway now when dancing.)
- keeping a straight back on the bench when chest pressing and putting less stress and pressure on my lower back.
- better form when doing pull-ups and no longer curve my spine to help pull my weight up.
- aesthetically, better over all posture. ( I bet ya’ Quasimodo didn’t plank. All that ringing of the bell tower must have put a terrible strain on his back.)
- burpees, push-ups and mountain climbers became easier as my mid section became stronger.
My Get a Better Stronger Core and Feel Better Workout:
hold a plank for 30 seconds
do 30 Russian twists or hold a v-sit position for 30 seconds.
I repeat this 3 times, resting between each super set
Or I just hold a plank for 2 minutes.