If you’ve been exercising long enough, chances are you’ve heard that planks are one of the best exercises for yourÂ abdominals. Whether you’re a runner, bike rider or weight lifter, youÂ needÂ a strong and solid foundation, and that comes from working the core muscles.
Not only does a strong center betterÂ overall exercise performance on your home gym equipment, but it assists with stabilization and balance so you can work more efficiently with a lower risk of injury.
While it may not seem like having strong core is important for running or bike riding, the truth is that a solid core improves these cardio workouts. If you think about it, you need goodÂ posture in order to run well on your fitness treadmill and avoid muscle imbalances from leaningÂ far forward or hunching your shoulders. Similarly, you need to able to sit tall on your home exercise bike in order to pedal properly.
Anyone whoÂ hasn’tÂ done aÂ plankÂ might thinkÂ they look easy enough – just hold your body in a push-up position? No problem! However, when you actually perform a plank, it quickly becomes clear how challenging they are. This is because you’re not only working on your abs and back muscles, but your arms and legs engage as well, making a plank a total bodyÂ exercise. Once you’ve mastered a traditional plank, you can add modifications to intensifyÂ the exercise, further improve stability and become even stronger.
The good news about planks is that they can be performed anywhere because all they usually require is your body weight (though sometimes you might add some weight for added upper body work). In addition to your regular cardio sessions, you can incorporate this awesome plank circuit from Women’s Health magazine to take your fitness to the next level:
Plank Knee Tuck to Side Kick
Row to Triceps Extension
Front – Side Raise
Once you complete this plank circuit, you’re sure to be feeling the burn throughout your whole body!