Have you sent your entire life doing crunches with no results to show for it?
Then maybe it's time to stop. Crunches that require spinal flexion are not only ineffective but they are unsafe to do. Another option exists – another exercise that eliminates the extra stress on the column column and works your core all the way around. The plank exercise is the solution. Planks work wonders. The plank is an effective isometric hold that elevates the stabilization and power of your core (and we're all aware of how important it is to have a strong core).
Follow these steps to execute a proper plank hold:
- Begin by finding a soft surface and lying face-down,
- With your body fully aligned from head to toe, balance on your elbows / forearms and toes,
- Keep your abdominals tight by contracting them and the objective is to hold the plank for as long as you can or for a certain training time.
Nothing to it! Sounds simple right !? Try it out and let me know how it went.
Beginners often find the plank exercise quite eye-opening as it quickly presents any weaknesses in the core. Keep practicing and utilizing this exercise. The more you use it, the longer you'll be able to hold the plank and then the stronger your core will become.
Plank variations you can Integrate
The Side Plank (advanced)
The side plank is great for the obliques (lateral part of your core). To properly perform this variation, you need to turn to one side and balance yourself on your lower foot and lower elbow. The body has to be aligned the whole time. Target both sides of your core by performing the exercise on both sides.
The Modified Plank (for beginners)
If you are a beginner and you're struggling to hold the plank for more than twenty seconds, then this plank variation is for you. The modification is very simple – instead of balancing on your toes and your elbows, you are to balance on your knees and your elbows. This makes the exercise less challenging but it is a great starting point. Once you can hold a modified plank for a minute, you can move on to a regular plank.
The plank is the most effective and safe exercise for developing a rigid core. Start off slow, use the plank variations if needed and keep practicing. You'll be shocked by the results!