Want to build a strong and sexy core but endless non-effective situps and crunches get in the way? Despite having a reputation of a boring move, the Plank exercise can actually work as a solution for your desperate attempts to peel off excessive pounds and build up a strong core. Follow the 30-day Plank challenge to explore a myriad of possible variations of the Plank exercise, shed those annoying pounds, improve your posture and enhance your well-being. Constant standing on your elbows not included.
Why is the plank exercise beneficial for your health?
The Plank exercise works better than crunches because it engages all of your core muscles, arms and legs. It was proven that targeting only one muscle is ineffective, and this is exactly the feature of crunches (2). Busting out crunches is hard on your back and might cause pain afterwards. It is necessary to distribute the strain evenly across your body to make your workout useful, and this is precisely what plank and its variations provide. By the way, by following the plank challenge, aside from sculpting the desired core, you get tons of health benefits, from increasing your flexibility to lowering the risks of spinal problems (1).
What is the Plank challenge?
The crux of the plank challenge is fairly simple: you have to gradually increase the amount of time you hold the plank. For instance, you may start with 20 seconds at the beginning of your plank challenge and slowly but surely move up to 3 minutes. But the most intriguing part of the challenge is putting different plank variations that focus on every essential muscle of your body to the test. Keep reading if you wish to add top 3 body-toning planks to your fat-fighting arsenal.
3 exercises for the Plank Challenge
Start in a standard plank position, palms planted firmly on the ground. Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your heels by engaging your core muscles. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Lift your right leg two or three inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow while keeping your hips as stable as possible. Return your right leg back to the ground, and repeat on the left side. Alternate legs at a brisk pace for 30 seconds.
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High Side Plank
Start in a basic high plank position. Walk your right hand to the midline of your body and roll onto the outside edge of your right foot. Stack your feet, drive your hips up and extend your left arm to the ceiling.
Hold for 45 seconds, then pass through a basic high plank and repeat on the left side. Do three sets—one set constitutes both sides.
The Walking Plank
Begin in a basic plank position. Push up one arm at a time to get into the high plank position with arms extended and hands under your shoulders. Reverse the move and continue moving from the plank to high plank at a slow, deliberate pace, keeping your back and hips aligned throughout.
To sum up, the plank challenge is an amazing opportunity for you to blast those pounds away, amp up metabolism and improve your all-around well-being. However, working out should go hand in hand with a nutritious diet, so make sure to choose a plan suitable for you. A high-protein (4), high-fiber (3) diet coupled with increased physical activity will undoubtedly put your weight loss in overdrive. Check out the Mediterranean diet or the Japanese diet if you’re looking to kick-start your transformation. Last but not least, keep your water intake up, especially when you’re getting your sweat on in the gym. You lose water, you replenish it! This rule needs to be burned into your mind.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Serial Case Reporting Yoga for Idiopathic and Degenerative Scoliosis (2014, journals.sagepub.com).
- The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat. (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The impact of soluble dietary fibre on gastric emptying, postprandial blood glucose and insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes. (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)