Planks are a great way to workout multiple muscles at once. But which muscles do planks target? We break it down for you in this blog post.
The plank is an excellent exercise which can help you to build core strength and stability. It works multiple muscle groups in the body, including your core, back, shoulders, chest, and legs. By doing planks regularly, you can improve your posture, balance, and endurance. Let us take a look at which muscles are worked out when you do planks.
Benefits of Planks
Planks are a type of core exercise that require you to hold your body in a specific, movable position. By doing regular planks, you can strengthen and tone your core muscles and improve your overall physical health. Regular planks can also help increase endurance and flexibility, improve posture and balance, reduce back pain, increase abdominal strength, promote a healthy heart and lungs, reduce the risk of injury from everyday activities, alleviate stress and anxiety levels, as well as improve sports performance.
The muscles most worked in planks are the rectus abdominis (also known as the “six-pack”), obliques (which help twist your torso from side to side) transverse abdominis (which helps you keep balance), spinal erectors (as well as the deep back muscles that hold up your spine straight when standing), anterior deltoids (shoulders), trapezius (neck) pectoralis major (chest). Additionally, planks help strengthen many small stabilizing muscles located along the spine which are often neglected during other exercises.
Which Muscles Do Planks Workout?
Planks are a great form of exercise as they work many different muscles throughout your body. Planks provide a great full-body workout, but there are certain muscles that benefit more from the plank exercise than others. In this article, we will discuss the muscles that are targeted by planks, and how they can help you improve overall strength and balance.
The plank is a full body exercise that works multiple muscle groups, but primarily targets the core muscles. This includes the rectus abdominis, or the “six-pack” muscles, located along the front of your abdomen. Additional muscles of your core include the transverse abdominals, located in your lower back near your spine. Planks also target other major muscle groups such as glutes, hamstrings and quads.
The plank exercise also provides engaging benefits for both stabilizer and postural muscles in your upper body and neck region. Stabilizer muscles help maintain proper posture and correct alignment during stabilize exercises like planks. Postural stability helps you support your spine while doing activities such as sitting or standing up straight. Finally, planks may target smaller muscular movement patterns in areas throughout your spine including neck flexors/extensors and wrists/hands as well.
Upper Body Muscles
When done correctly, planks can affect the entire body. The primary muscles worked in a plank are located in the upper body. These include the chest, back, and shoulder muscles.
Chest Muscles: The front of your chest is a primary area targetted in plank exercises as they engage the pectorals and anterior deltoids. Push-ups and planks both provide stresses on these muscle groups to help with building strength and stability.
Back Muscles: When holding a plank position, you’ll be working several back muscles at once. Along with your abdominals and core muscles (discussed below), you’ll also be working your rhomboids, trapezius (traps), latissimus dorsi (lats) serratus anterior and more — all important for postural support!
Shoulders: Your shoulder works against the pull of gravity when holding an elbow plank exercise to maintain proper posture, which helps strengthen them for improved functionality. As an additional benefit, planks help keep your shoulders from rounding forward as can occur from prolonged sedentary movement or sitting behind a desk all day(poor posture) .
Lower Body Muscles
Planks are an effective exercise for strengthening and toning your core, lower back, chest, and butt muscles. The plank can also be a great way to build strength and endurance in the lower body through static holds.
Planks engage the glutes — or the muscles of your butt — as you build stability and strength from the bottom up. They work nearly every muscle in your lower body, including your inner thighs and quads. This is especially true when you progress to variations such as side planks or hip twists that require more range of motion. Plank exercises can help improve stability — primarily during walking, running, and other lateral movements — by targeting stabilizer muscles to create a strong base of support.
Planking engages several muscles in the abdomen, hips, legs, buttocks, and shoulders including:
-Abdominals: Rectus abdominis (front/top layer), oblique (outer sides)
-Hips: Gluteus medius (inner hips)
-Legs: Quadriceps (front thigh), hamstrings (back thigh)
-Buttocks: Gluteus maximus (main muscle responsible for extending legs)
-Shoulders: Pectoralis major/minor (chest), trapezius/deltoids (shoulders)
Types of Planks
Planks are a great core exercise which can provide many benefits to your physical fitness. They target your abdominal muscles, as well as your obliques, and they also work your shoulders, arms, and back. But, there are many different types of planks that work different muscles. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Front planks are great for starting your core muscles. They help build strength in muscles that connect the spine and neck to the feet and shoulders. This type of plank involves lying on your stomach with your elbows slightly bent, and supporting yourself up on your toes and elbows. Keeping your spine straight and maintaining good posture, you should hold the position for as long as you can without moving or breaking form. Front planks help improve balance, posture, flexibility in the lower back area, core strength, stamina, strength endurance and overall fitness. This type of plank is a great way to start strengthening your core muscles so you can move on to more advanced exercises in the future.
Side plank, also commonly referred to as a side bridge, is a type of isometric core exercise performed in the prone position. This position places the body in an elevated posture with the arms placed at shoulder level, facing outwards. The side plank recruits the internal obliques, transverse abdominals, and quadratus lumborum all along the side of your body, while engaging your shoulder muscles to stabilize your upper body and help you maintain balance.
The benefits of a side plank include improved muscular flexibility and strength in the torso muscles that could help reduce back pain. Additionally, this exercise can also improve posture and breathing mechanics when regularly performed correctly.
To perform a proper side plank:
1. Lie on your right side with your legs straight and stack your left foot on top of your right foot.
2. Prop yourself up onto your right forearm so that it’s resting perpendicular to the ground and brace yourself using that arm. Make sure you’re now supported by just two points; one foot and one arm.
3. Lift up onto your toes or use a fitness ball for more difficulty
4. Tilt slightly backwards towards the wall behind you by contracting your glutes so there’s tension in them throughout this move
5. Hold for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side
A reverse plank is an easier version of the standard plank, but it works a variety of muscles including your abdominals, glutes and back. This exercise can be done with your arms straight or with your arms bent at the elbows. To perform a reverse plank, start by sitting on the floor on your buttocks with legs straight out in front of you and feet together. Place the palms of your hands flat against the floor by each side next to the hips. Then lift yourself up by straightening your arms and pressing down firmly in order to raise your body up so that it’s balanced on only your palms and legs with an even distribution of weight between both. Hold in this position for 10-20 seconds before slowly lowering yourself back to starting position. This is one repetition. You can do multiple repetitions at once or do them a few times throughout the day for added benefit.
How to Do a Plank
Planking is an effective exercise to strengthen your core muscles and engage other muscles in your body. This full body exercise can help improve your posture, balance, and stability. When done correctly, planking has many benefits including improved core strength, better mobility, and increased joint stability. Let’s take a look at how to correctly perform a plank and the muscles it engages.
Planks are a great way to build your core and strengthen many of the relevant muscles associated with that area. Learning the correct way to do a plank is important in order to maximize its benefits and prevent any potential injuries.
Below are step-by-step instructions on how to do a plank correctly.
1. Start by lying on your stomach, keeping your neck in neutral alignment with the spine. Place your forearms flat on the ground just below shoulder level and stack one foot over the other.
2. Push through your palms, engaging your core muscles as you lift your body off of the ground so that it forms one long line from shoulders to feet. You should be resting on just forearms and toes (not hands) while looking down at the floor. Keep abs pulled tight and buttocks engaged during this position.
3. Hold this position for 30 seconds up to 2 minutes (depending on skill level). All breath should be inhaled through nose and exhaled through mouth throughout the hold time of this exercise. Be sure not to let back arch or hips drop during this sustained period — elbows should remain directly below shoulders while maintaining a straight line with body from head all the way down feet!
4. Once done, relax everything from neck down gradually before releasing back onto floor surface beneath you slowly and naturally (do not ‘drop’ boat back).
5 .Repeat this exercise for 3-4 repetitive sets (progression can then be added if desired).
Variations of Planks
Planks are a great exercise that strengthen the core, help with back and abdominal stability, and can even work other muscle groups. But which muscles do planks work and how can you vary them to target the different muscles? Let’s take a look at several different variations of the plank to see what muscles are affected.
The Forearm plank engages your core muscles, and can also require shoulder and arm muscles depending on the position you take. This is an excellent starting point for beginners who don’t have the coordination or strength to do a full body plank yet. When doing a forearm plank, make sure your elbows are directly below your shoulders and that you pull your belly button toward the floor while keeping your head in a neutral position.
Other variations of this exercise can involve adding in arm lifts or lifting one leg off of the ground. This will further engage your core and add difficulty to the exercise. To challenge yourself further increase the time you hold each plank for longer durations. Start by setting a goal of one minute per session and increasing it when doing it feels less difficult.
High Planks are a great full-body workout that not only engage your core, but also target your shoulders, chest, glutes and hamstrings. High planks are done in an elevated position with your feet in line with your spine – toes on the floor and shoulders directly over hands. Activating your core to keep your body pressed from shoulder to heels helps you improve core strength as well as postural control. It is important to remember proper form when doing this exercise by keeping the neck and back aligned and muscles engaged. Variations of this exercise can be done by taking different stances such as a wide stance (feet at hip width or wider) or staggered stance (alternating between right toe/left hand and left toe/right hand) for more stability challenge. Other options include lifting one arm or leg off the floor which engages obliques for a greater burnout!
A low plank is a variation of the traditional plank and is an effective way to target muscles throughout the core, arms, and legs while also challenging your balance and coordination. This type of plank involves adopting a standard low planking position with the arms outstretched in front of the body and legs fully extending behind the body. From this position, the individual holds the plank until each muscle group fatigues from the resistance of body weight pushing against them. Specific muscle groups targeted by this exercise include the abdominals, obliques, glutes, lats, deltoids (shoulders), triceps (arms) and quads (thighs). Low planks can be modified by widening or narrowing your arm or leg placement during the exercise which provides different levels of difficulty and changes which muscles are most challenged during each repetition. Low planks are a great way to strengthen core muscle groups while also challenging balance and coordination.
In conclusion, planks are a great way to engage and strengthen multiple muscles throughout your body. These exercises target your core muscles, as well as your chest, back, shoulders, arms and legs. Additionally, planks help promote better posture, balance and stability while simultaneously engaging your core muscles. Planks can also help prevent injuries by building strength in the deep stabilizing muscles around the joints. To maximize the benefits of planks it is important to perform regular planking workouts that incorporate a variety of variations with both lower-body instability training and upper-body support movements. With regular practice and focus on proper form and technique, planking can help build a stronger core—which will ultimately lead to improved performance in any physical activity!
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