I believe that a strong core is essential to protect yourself against injuries, improve your posture, reduce back pain and to protect your vital internal organs and your central nervous system. It also creates a slimmer waistline as well, which is something I’m sure most of us wouldn’t complain about!
Your core muscles include all of the abdominals, all of the muscles in the hips and all of the muscles that run up and down the back. There are lots of difference exercises to help with increasing core strength; including the plank!
There are also many variations to the plank, so if this version gets to easy you can always mix it up to increase the difficulty and challenge your body further. Variations can include lifting one foot or one hand off the floor, or one foot AND one hand at the same time, you can elevate your feet, elevate your feet onto an unsteady surface, such as an exercise ball, you can even try a side plank.
And again, this also has many variations, including lifting the top leg, going higher on your supporting arm, elevating your feet, elevating your feet on an unsteady surface, such as a suspension trainer (a great piece of equipment!).
These plank variations are great for challenging your core muscles and therefore increasing the strength of them. You can also try adding in dynamic variations, which include doing a movement for a set number of repetitions whilst in the plank position.
A great way to start off is to try and hold a plank for 30 seconds. If you need to take a break in the middle then do so. Keep your abs tight and your spine long, make sure your body is in line, keep your head down and don’t let your bottom stick up in the air. If you feel any back pain at all then come out of it. If you can manage to hold it for 30 seconds then take a short break and do another 30 seconds.
So in less then 2 minutes per day, 2 or 3 times per week, you’ll be on the right path to a stronger core, which will help your body no end with your day to day tasks, every day things such as lifting something, pulling, pushing, sitting up, walking taller. There are no ends to the benefits of a stronger core!
If you have existing injuries or medical conditions then please seek medical advice before trying any new workouts or exercises.