what's the point in planking

What’s the point in planking?

It seems like the plank is amongst the most popular exercises, perhaps down to the competitive nature of social media users competing over who can hold theirs the longest. But is the plank actually a worthwhile exercise and what are the benefits?

We’re picking up another reader question about planking today. The question asked: “What’s the point in planking? Are there any real benefits?”

Over to qualified personal trainer, Melanie Gilder, to answer.

What is a plank?

So let’s start with the basis. A plank is a simple core exercise where the aim is to have your body stomach down perpendicular to the ground. In essence, you want to be in the extended press up position. Except you won’t be pushing yourself up and down. And while that may make it sound easier than a push up, don’t be fooled. Holding a plank position can be very strenuous.

Is planking actually any good for you?

Apart from the benefit to your ego when you beat your mate (or gym nemesis) what does planking actually do for you?

Well, let’s start by saying that planking definitely does have benefits:

  • Planks are amongst the best core exercises you can do working a huge set of core muscles
  • It helps to improve your posture
  • They can help to alleviate back pain, partially down to the posture improvements they support but also down to its ability to help build up abdominal muscles and take some load off the back
  • Planking can improve your coordination

So yes, planking is good for you.

How long should you be able to hold a plank?

This is a huge “it depends.” But as a guide I would say that if you are unable to hold one for two minutes then you could definitely be improving your core strength.

Can planking alone give me a toned abdomen?

No. It’s unlikely. As with any move, I’d suggest this is a part of a wider exercise routine that seeks to work as many different muscle groups as possible.

So there you have it…

There is a point in planking and it’s definitely good for you. But spending every day trying to beat your time probably won’t get you to your overall fitness goals any time soon. Mix it up.

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