The plank exercise is one of the most effective ones out there to retrain the ab muscles to work more efficiently. Actually this kind of exercise is an isometric one. ‘Iso’ means ‘same’ and ‘metric’ means ‘length’. Literally it means same length, but these exercises are those in which you have to hold plank position in order to strengthen certain muscle groups.
There is one secret regarding these kinds of exercises: to pull your belly button towards your spine to make the best of the exercises.
These kinds of exercises are really useful for women who already had children. While being pregnant the ab muscles stretch and there is need for some work to retrain the core muscles for them to work again.
The plank exercise is more than great in this situation.
In case of performing more complicated movements, it is more difficult to focus solely on one muscle, but in case of the isometric exercises, you have this possibility.
It is a good question how could balancing make your ab muscles stronger, so here is the explanation. When you hold the plank position, your back has the tendency to sag and arch. In order to prevent this, you will have to use your ab muscles and you will also have to pull in your belly button to keep your body in a straight line.
If you feel like this kind of exercise is too easy for you, you could try a combination of two exercises, so that the muscles will be a bit more solicitated.
Perform a set of crunches and after that without resting you should turn over into the plank position. This way the exercise will be more intense and it will be more challenging for the ab muscles.
Full plank exercise
Start with balancing on your toes and elbows while keeping your body in a straight line. In order for the exercise to be efficient, hold position for about 10-30 seconds without making any movements.
Keeping the body in a straight line is an important aspect of the exercise and in order to avoid getting back pain, make sure that you keep your abs pulled in. It is no surprise if for the first few times your body starts shaking while making planks exercises. This is caused by muscle weakness and poor coordination.
After some practice you will be able to hold position and the shaking will also stop. If you feel like your back is arching, lift your hips a bit higher.
Half planks exercise
In this case you have to balance on your knees and your elbows, but just as in the previous case you will have to keep your body in a straight line. In case you cannot hold the position of the full plank, this is the exercise to start with to strengthen your muscles.
When you are able to hold position for 30 seconds, you can move on to the full plank exercise. It might be a good idea to use a pad under your elbows so that they won’t hurt.