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There are two types of people in the world, those who love planks and those who feel planking should be banned. Gravity isn’t our friend, so why should we fight it?
Yet, there are many reasons why planking every day is better than discovering your gym crush isn’t a terminator with programming set to deceive and destroy. One will leave you with lasting positive results, both mentally and physically. The other, based on history, will likely result in having to change gyms.
It’s impossible to view any fitness account on social media without seeing someone in a plank, looking sexy AF. Be it a super-hot, half-naked, basic fit chick, or a shredded to the bone bro with a pile of plates on his back. Their images either inspire an unexplained psychotic rage, or pure envy.
There are many articles about the benefits of planks claiming to make us sexier and basically cure cancer. Experienced yogis, freakishly sized steroid filled bodybuilders, and everyone in between can be heard singing the praises of planking… so in the pursuit of knowledge, we did some research.
While the results were somewhat expected, we did find a few surprising benefits that we think you should know. Check them out below.
1. They Strengthen Your Core
The term ‘core’ is often used as a euphemism for abs with many thinking sit-ups will achieve a ripped six-pack. This is as unlikely as finding a natural bodybuilder in the Mr. Olympia competition. Made up of major and minor muscles in the front, back and sides of the body, having a weak core will affect more than just your squats. It will affect your ability to drop it like it’s hot in the club or in the bedroom.
To bring your a-game to the club and the bedroom start planking every day. Either add it to your normal exercise routine or start the day with them. When you plank every day, all the muscles in your core will strengthen to cope with the demand you are placing on your body. Treat the exercise like brushing your teeth, never miss a day, and you’ll be smiling like the cat that got the cream.
2. They Help Improve Posture
If you’re reading this on your smartphone, tablet or laptop, stop and notice the position of your neck, shoulders and spine. Chances are you’re bent and curved in all the wrong places. Poor posture can affect the way we look, the way we move and our general health and well-being.
Although viewed as an abdominal exercise, daily planking will also strengthen the muscles in your shoulders and back. This means your muscles and ligaments can provide adequate support for your spine. With your spinal column in correct alignment, the way you sit, stand and hold yourself is instantly improved. Some people can gain a couple of inches from doing this exercise. Unfortunately, any inches gained are in your height.
3. They Prevent And Improve Back Pain Issues
Many times, back pain is a symptom, often of a weak core, rather than a diagnosis. Incorporating daily planks into your routine will address this issue by strengthening the core and back. With muscles strong enough to keep you from slouching or rounding shoulders, you’re unlikely to develop back pain and or neck pain.
Having a strong back will also reduce your risk of back and spinal injuries. This is especially useful if you’ve got to carry your friend back from the club.
4. They Boost Your Metabolism
Metabolism is a process of chemical reactions in the body’s cells, which convert the calories in food eaten into the energy needed to power everything we do. Strenuous exercise can increase the rate at which muscles burn through calories and here the plank delivers.
Different types of planks to boost that metabolism
There is no other dedicated core exercise that activates as many muscles as the plank. Since planks are a great muscle builder, they will send your metabolism into overdrive, much like seeing your gym crush smashing out some heavy squats.
5. They Increase Your Flexibility
When you plank on a daily basis you stretch the posterior chain muscle groups, from your shoulders to the soles of your feet. This results in greater flexibility throughout the body. In some cases, the plank can resolve tight hips where traditional stretches have little or no effect.
Greater flexibility can increase the range of motion around joints. Limits in the range of motion at joints can result in pain, injuries, and poor performance, and not just in the gym. Planking may not give you the flexibility of a soft pretzel but it could mean it’s less likely you’ll end up in the emergency room from taking a yoga class.
6. They Provide Many Mental Benefits
Remember those super-flexible, ripped crazies planking on the top of a mountain? Well, they are usually dancing on the edge of madness from not having eaten a single carb in years; however, they are as calm as only the truly insane can be. When planking is part of your daily routine, you benefit from the endorphin release of exercise, which positively affects your mood.
As an added benefit, planks stretch out the muscles in the neck and shoulders that hold tension and stress, relieving both. Also, after planking consistently you too can have someone snap a smug as picture of you planking in obscure but beautiful places. This will prove you are fitter (and a bigger douche) than everyone else you know.
7. They Improve Your Balance
The plank, while effective on larger muscle groups, is also great at strengthening the smaller stabilizing muscles. This translates into an improvement in balancing and stability. This is especially important for those involved in any sport, in fitness or the self-indulged trying to plank in an interesting but slightly dangerous spot, like a cliff top!