Wouldn’t it be nice if you could spend just two one minute sessions each day doing a single thing, and find yourself with a fitter, firmer, thinner body? It would be like a dream come true for most women! But did you know that it is actually possible to do that? All you really need to commit to is the dreaded plank, an exercise that works out every single muscle in your body. Best of all, you only need to do it for a minute each day, or really push yourself and do two one minute planks per day. So what are the benefits of the plank, and what kind of results can you expect?
Benefit #1 – It Makes You Stronger
The first important benefit is that it makes your entire body stronger. This means you can carry more weight, pull things easier, and generally place less strain on yourself in your day to day life. What makes the plank so special is that it literally exercises every single muscle group in your body, from your head to your toes.
The plank provides strength benefits to many muscle groups all at the same time. Tell me, which other exercise provides this many strength benefits without the use of gym equipment?
Benefit #2 – Your Metabolism Gets a Big Boost
Most of us who are trying to lose weight know all about metabolism and are constantly looking for tips and tricks to help us boost it. A faster metabolism means that food is burned up more quickly, leading to more weight loss. It is no surprise that you see pills, patches, and products everywhere that claim to boost your metabolism. The truthfulness of those products aside, doing the plank will definitely increase your metabolism.
Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).
Benefit #3 – Your Belly Will Look Stunning
Who doesn’t want a well defined belly? Not everybody wants to have a highly chiseled six or even eight pack, but most of us also don’t want flabby and loose skin either. We would like to be able to walk around in a crop top without having to suck our belly in and without forcing ourselves to stand up all the time, because we get rolls the minute we sit down. Bellies are some of the hardest areas to reach when it comes to workouts and weight loss, but you will get there through regular planking.
Planking will help build your deep inner core muscles that lay the groundwork for that six-pack look. As your abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section will tighten.
Benefit #4 – No More Back Pain
While the plank exercises all of your different muscle groups, its main focus is on your core muscles. Your core is where your body gets its stability from, which includes your stomach and your lower back. These are also the very areas that are either prone to put on stubborn fat (your belly), or prone to injury (your lower back). When you plank regularly, you will build your overall body strength, as previously mentioned, but you will specifically build on your core strength and that is what really matters, as this is what will also get rid of the constant back pain so many of us experience.
By strengthening your core muscles and tightening your abs, planks can help to take a load off your back muscles while simultaneously whipping them into shape. Performing the plank exercise can help reduce back strain when you are at rest, so this benefit stretches well beyond the time that you are actually performing the exercise.
Benefit #5 – It Makes You More Flexible
What few people realize is that the plank is actually rooted in yoga. Yoga is a discipline in which people learn to become one with their body and with the natural energies around them, pushing their bodies to new limits while always focusing on breathing. Every yoga exercise is designed to increase flexibility so that yoga practitioners can push themselves ever further, while always thinking about their breathing. Because the plank is part of yoga, it will make you more flexible and enable you to focus more on your breathing.
Pressing the front of your thighs upward and lengthening your legs as much as possible stretches the hamstrings that form the back of your thighs. Plank exercises also stretch the arches of your feet as your toes hyperextend to support your weight.
Benefit #6 – You Can Mix it Up
The plank does sound a little bit boring to most people. You simply push yourself up from the ground onto your tippytoes, with either your hands or fists and elbows on the ground (if your wrist isn’t strong), and just stay in the position. After you have been planking for a little while, doing it for one minute won’t even make you shake anymore, which means it all starts to feel a bit easy. While you can extend the time (do it, the longer you plank, the more benefits you will experience), we started this article on the premise of a one minute exercise. Luckily, however, you can actually do plenty of plank variations to keep it fresh and interesting.
A beautiful thing about the plank is that small changes make the movement much harder to perform. One of the most effective ways to amplify a plank is simply to lift up an arm or foot. By doing this, your body has to work harder to resist instability and rotational force. Start off by holding a good plank—emphasis on good—with only one foot in contact with the ground, and then progress to lifting an arm up.
There are many other variations to choose from. As you can see, the plank really is your best friend. And doing a one minute exercise once or twice a day should be doable even for the most die hard procrastinators out there.
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