Planking 101: Everything You Need to Know

When the planking fad went viral in the year 2011, fitness noobs dismissed it as nothing more than a play for attention on social media — and, yes, for a while, that was true. A photo of yourself facedown on a field or above a bookshelf was bound to get you some likes on Facebook, after all, if only because people wondered what you were doing.

We know better now. Planking has raised itself from the ground and is a recognized exercise amongst fledgling gym-goers because of its widespread exposure on social media. Sign up at any gym, and your trainer will surely add this to your workout routine.

So, what makes planking so special?

The One Thing You should Know about Planking

What’s the one thing you should know about planking? Well, it hurts. It may look easy given that all you need to do is keep your body still in a modified push-up position like a plank of wood, but anyone who’s ever tried knows that a minute of planking will be the longest minute you’ll ever experience in your life.

Just like any other exercise for your muscles, planking is going to be a little painful the first few tries while your body adjusts. Your muscles will probably be screaming at you a day or two after. Don’t worry though. It only hurts because of the wonders the exercise is working on your body.

The Core

You should never underestimate your core. When a trainer says that planking is great for strengthening your core muscles groups.

  • Transverse abdominis: developing this muscle increases your ability to lift heavier weights;
  • Rectus abdominis: a crucial muscle to exercise for improved sports performance (and gorgeous abs);
  • Oblique muscles: training these muscles improve your body’s overall balance, and;
  • Glutes: develop this muscle for increased back support (with a side helping of a luscious booty)

Plank More, Eat More

Planking requires less movement compared to high-impact exercises, but your muscles work harder when you do the workout. Since it challenges your body, planking every day is one sure way to burn calories. Just take a minute or two before work to start your day. Regular planking will increase your metabolic rate and ensure that it stays high throughout the day. More snacks for you!

The Body of a Gymnast, the Posture of a Queen

When you plank, you stretch your posterior muscles groups, which include the shoulders, shoulder blades, and collarbones. Your feet also get a good pull whenever you plank, improving your body’s overall flexibility.

If you’re worried about developing a hunchback, add a minute of planking into your exercise routine. Planking strengthens your ability to stand straight at all times, and you’ll find it easier to maintain proper posture without the stabbing pain from sitting down all day.

Do the Plank

The basics of planking are simple – you can do it anywhere and with minimal instruction.

When you’re in a pushup position on the floor, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and rest your weight on your forearms. Relax your neck and face downwards. Keep your body straight and rigid for a minute or for as long as you can. Don’t forget to practice proper breathing, too.

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