Planking: what is it good for? Quite a bit, it turns out: so much has been made of this relatively simple exercise, especially on Youtube and pop culture, but from a fitness (and a chiropractor’s) perspective, the plank deserves a place in the pantheon of excellent exercises. When done properly, the plank targets and conditions every layer of abdominal fascia, simultaneously strengthening the core and increasing the flexibility of posterior muscle groups. The power of this exercise is such that 3-5 repetitions at 20-30 seconds is enough to provide you with strengthening, stretching and pain relief. A good plank looks something like this:
- Elbows under shoulders
- Wrists aligned with elbows
- Push body upwards, holding chin close to neck
- Pull your belly button in, contract abdominals, squeeze glutes and thigh muscles
- Hold 20-30 seconds
It requires no further movement to provide you with some serious benefits, but variations of the plank can be performed to target specific sets of muscles. However, we like to focus on keeping things simple at first, and learning the basics of the low plank is a necessity in this regard. At Associates in Chiropractic, we are proponents of any exercise or stretch that increases core stability because it lends assistance to a lower back that becomes more beleaguered with age. As with all movements, proper form is essential, not only for reaping all the benefit of the exercise, but also avoiding the pitfall of training your muscles the wrong way.
Dr. Albert Stabile, D.C.