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Benefits of Planking

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Benefits of Planking

Holding the plank exercise offers several benefits for your body and overall fitness. Here are some of the key advantages:

1: Core Strength: Planks primarily target the muscles in your core, including the rectus abdominis (six-pack muscles), transverse abdominis, obliques, and lower back muscles. By holding a plank position, you engage and strengthen these muscles, leading to improved core stability and posture.

2: Improved Balance:Planks require you to maintain a stable position, challenging your balance. By regularly practicing planks, you can enhance your ability to stabilize and control your body, leading to better overall balance and coordination.

3: Increased Strength: Planks are not just beneficial for your core muscles. They also engage and strengthen the muscles in your shoulders, chest, arms, and legs. Holding a plank position activates multiple muscle groups simultaneously, helping to improve overall strength and endurance.

4: Reduced Back Pain: Strengthening your core muscles through planks can help alleviate or prevent lower back pain. A strong core provides better support to your spine, reducing the stress and strain on your back muscles.

5: Enhanced Posture: Weak core muscles often contribute to poor posture. By strengthening your core with planks, you can improve your spinal alignment and develop better posture. This can alleviate tension in the neck, shoulders, and lower back, promoting a more upright and confident stance.

6: Improved Flexibility: Planks stretch and engage the muscles in your shoulders, collarbones, and shoulder blades, helping to improve upper body flexibility. Regular practice of planks can gradually increase your overall flexibility and range of motion.

7: Time-Efficient Exercise: Planks are a time-efficient exercise that can be done almost anywhere without requiring any equipment. They engage multiple muscle groups and provide a full-body workout in a short amount of time.

8: Mental Benefits: Holding a plank position requires focus, mental discipline, and perseverance. Regularly challenging yourself with planks can help improve your mental resilience, concentration, and willpower.


To perform a basic plank exercise, follow these steps:

1: Start by positioning yourself face-down on the floor or exercise mat. Place your forearms on the ground, aligning them with your shoulders, and keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Your forearms should be parallel to each other.

2: Extend your legs behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Your toes should be flexed and your feet about hip-width apart. Engage your core muscles by drawing your navel toward your spine.

3: Form a straight line from your head to your heels, ensuring that your body remains parallel to the ground. Keep your neck in a neutral position, looking down at the floor.

4: Hold this position, maintaining a tight core and avoiding any sagging or lifting of your hips. Focus on breathing steadily throughout the exercise.

5: Aim to hold the plank for a specific duration, such as starting with 20 to 30 seconds, and gradually increase the time as you build strength and endurance.


Important tips for proper plank form:

       Keep your core muscles engaged throughout the exercise. This includes your abdominals, obliques, and lower back muscles.

       Avoid arching or rounding your lower back. Maintain a neutral spine position.

       Your body should remain in a straight line from your head to your heels. Don't allow your hips to sag or lift too high.

       Focus on steady breathing, inhaling and exhaling naturally.

       If you experience any pain or discomfort, consider modifying the exercise or consulting a fitness professional.


Variations of the plank exercise, such as side planks or plank with leg lifts, can also be incorporated into your routine to target specific muscle groups or add variety to your workout.


Plank Challenge

Hold the plank for 10 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds x10 rounds by setting at interval timer for 10 rounds of 10 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. When you master this challenge, increase the time by 5 seconds and so on. Continue over the next 6 weeks and see if you can progress to 10 rounds of 30 seconds, work, 30 seconds rest. This is absolutely achievable. Remember to maintain proper form and gradually increase the duration of your plank hold over time to avoid injury and maximize the benefits. Consulting with a fitness professional or personal trainer can also be helpful in tailoring your plank routine to your specific needs and goals.


Disclaimer: If you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it's advisable to consult with a fitness/healthcare before adding the plank or any new exercise to your routine.


* To learn more effective exercises that will benefit your health & fitness click here or call (586) 778-5222.




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