Planks are a great exercise because they engage all the major muscles groups in your core including the transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus, obliques, lower back, and glutes. Core strength does not rely on the abs alone; all of these muscles need to be strong for you to see strength and appearance benefits.
During a plank, your shoulders are getting just as much of a workout as your core. Your shoulders have to hold your upper body up. If you want defined shoulders, plank away!
Want to stand up taller? The shoulder strengthening benefits of a plank will help keep your chest up as you stand. No more rounded forward posture. The core strengthening benefits will help support your spine. The combination makes for improved posture.
Decreased risk of spinal injury
Obviously planks are a great exercise for strengthening the core, which is needed to keep your spine safe. Planks are also great because the exercise does not put a lot of pressure on your back and hips. Isolating your center like this will take the strain off your spine and focus it on your midsection. Doing planks regularly not only reduces back pain, but it also strengthens your muscles to make your back stronger. Planking daily = no more back pain.
Planking is a great way to challenge your entire body. Activating multiple muscle groups will not only make you stronger, but it will burn more calories. This quick calorie burn will provide an enhanced metabolic rate. Getting your heart rate up for even 5 minutes a day can affect your metabolism. Plank every morning, or every evening, or just take a 5-minute exercise break a work. This small bit of exercise can help change your metabolism significantly.
Balance comes from the core. If balance is something you struggle with, it is a complete reflexion on your core strength. Balance is not just important for dancers and gymnasts – it is needed for daily activities.
While you plank you are not only strengthening your core and shoulders, but you are also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet and toes. This increased flexibility will make you feel more capable in a yoga class, but more importantly it will alleviate additional joint pain in the knees, hips and ankles.