Plank for Metabolism

19 July, 2018

Did you follow our June Plank Challenge? We've discussed planks being a good base exercise for every body. This week we will focus on how a plank challenges your entire body, and can help to rev up your metabolism.

Planks are a body weight exercise - no equipment necessary! They can be performed on the wall, elevated on a bench, in a half plank position, in a full, or 'high' plank and a pillar or 'low' plank. When performed at the appropriate level to challenge you right where you are, planks will utilizes every major muscle group in the body! Planks, when incorporated consistently into your exercise routine, burn more calories than other 'core' exercises like sit ups! Planks help to increase strength in major muscle groups. As those muscle groups increase, your body will burn more calories ~ even at rest! Planks are important for those of us who work seated in front of a computer, not only to help us to retain good posture, but to burn calories. We will burn more calories at rest AND burn more calories when we are active, even when walking to work.

Full or Pillar Plank

  1. Begin from all fours position (hands and knees) on a mat.
  2. Come down to rest on your forearms.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles.
  4. Extend yours legs to create a straight line from your neck to ankles.
  5. Check that your forearms are aligned with your torso (forearms parallel to each other) Elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Head, spine and pelvis should be in neutral position.

For alternatives to the full plank, please see the previous issue of our e-news.

Three common mistakes

    Hips too high (hips look like Mt. Rainier)
    Hips too low (hammock)
    Head Up (chin is up)

Good plank form

    Head in line with spine
    Straight line from head to toes
    Forearms parallel to trunk
    Head, spine and hips in neutral position
    Shoulders back and down
    Legs braced front and back

Not feeling confident in your plank? Ask a red-vest trainer to check your form or make suggestions!

Cautions for planking

  • If you feel pain, especially in your neck or low back, this may mean that you need to modify the plank position (see alternatives listed above).
  • Watch that you do not allow your head, hips or shoulders sag (see good form above and common mistakes listed above). Using improper form can lead to injuries for the very muscle groups you are working to strengthen.
  • Do not hold your breath. Your body needs a constant flow of oxygen to exercise properly!
  • We do not recommend holding a plank for an extended period of time on a regular basis. If you can hold a plank for 2 minutes or longer, try a harder version. (See next weeks e-blast for plank variations!)
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