Next up for our monthly challenges… PLANKS! Why? Well first off…because I absolutely love planks. We are going to be working everyday on our planks this month. It will be a small time commitment each day, but by the end of the month we will be able to maintain our plank position for 5 minutes.
Planks are a low impact, complete exercise that not only targets your core like crazy, but also your legs, shoulders and arm muscles. The plank is one of the best exercises for core conditioning but it also works your glutes and hamstrings, supports proper posture, and improves balance. What does better balance and proper posture help improve… you guest it… running!! By maintaining a proper posture, naturally our running form improves and becomes more efficient. The more efficient you run, the better your performance will be. So… have I got you sold yet?
So why plank?
1. One Exercise, multiple benefits:
There are a few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.
By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also engaged. When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned. Not to mention your entire core and legs… all your stabilization muscles are at work here to keep you stable in the plank position.
2. You’ll improve core definition and performance
Planks are the perfect exercise for the abdominal muscles because they actually engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose in stabilization of your body, better posture and a healthy back.
3. Improved Flexibility
While building strength, planks also increase flexibility in your posterior muscle groups. The muscles around your shoulders, collarbone, and shoulder blades will expand and stretch (an area that often receives little attention), as will your hamstrings and even the arches of your feet and your toes.
4. Improve Your Balance and Posture
To do a plank correctly, you must engage your abs to stay upright. Side planks or planks with extensions are particularly beneficial for building balance, as are planks performed on a stability ball. Planks work all the muscles you need to maintain proper posture, like your back, chest, shoulders, abs, and neck. If you do planks regularly, you’ll find you’re able to sit or stand up straighter with ease.
Alright… so enough about the benefits… and onto the challenge!! We will be working each week on increasing the length of our plank so that by the end of the month… we are able to strongly hold a 5 minute plank!!
So, are you in? Join our Monthly Training Group or purchase one of our training plans to get access to the challenge calendar and exercise breakdown!!
Join here and let’s get planking: ONLINE TRAINING GROUP!