Healthal through The plank looks unspectacular, yes. But the classic core exercise is perfect for a flat stomach and a stable core.
It is and remains a desirable goal for many: a well-trained, slim and well-defined stomach. But the abdominal muscles are the biggest challenge for most people. And let’s be honest, who likes to do sit-ups all the time?
The plank, also called forearm support, is exactly the right exercise. Best of all, it’s ideal for training at home. This is also the case with our bodyweight plan: With it you train yourself slim and sporty – without equipment.
Here’s why and how to do planks most effectively.
Why is planking so effective?
When it comes to losing belly fat and building muscle, the plank is really promising. Because with this exercise you really work up a sweat: The entire body is stressed and shaped, everything from the hands to the feet is tense.
Not only are the arms, legs and buttocks really fit, but the abdominal muscles are also strengthened. Because: The tension comes mainly from the stomach, which holds it up and supports the arms and lower back. Here we reveal how to get your biceps and triceps in shape.
Tip for everyone: When planking, put a soft mat like this one underneath to protect your elbows.
How many planks should i do a day?
So that the exercise is really worthwhile, you should hold the forearm support for about 60 seconds and repeat this up to 3 times. It is important to pay particular attention to abdominal tension and a firm core area.
Planks: After this time you will see your first successes
Good news: The first results are pretty quickly visible. If you hold the forearm support for a minute every day or even incorporate multiple repetitions, you can see the first abs after a week. Strong!
How long should I hold the plank position?
Ultimately, there are no guidelines, or better: only one. And that is: as long as you can. Of course, 60 seconds would be mega-strong. But if you are not ready, you can do 4 sets of 15 seconds each. The route is the goal!
If you find that you can easily take the 15 seconds, you can slowly increase to 30 seconds and later 45 seconds – until you have reached the full minute.
What do I have to look out for with Planks?
The forearm plank is only effective when done correctly. So first make sure you have a correct posture. The back must not be in the hollow back, the whole body should be tense and especially the core area around the stomach should be really firm. In addition, you should do the forearm support on a relatively soft surface so that the elbows are not stressed so much.
Which muscles are used in the plank?
Plank exercises have a great effect on your entire body. Because not only the stomach, but also the entire core muscles are trained. Why is that important? A well-trained core can prevent back pain and also helps maintain good posture.
The training not only makes the outer muscles visible and strong (six-pack alert!). The deeper muscle structures that provide support are also better networked. And because the torso is the vital link between the upper body and lower extremities, it is also important to be strong here.
Doing planks properly
The classic plank, which primarily strengthens the straight abdominal muscles, is familiar to everyone: Put your hands shoulder-width apart, the shoulders remain over your hands the entire time. Put your feet hip-width apart, your body is straight.
The straight posture also remains, it will not fall into the hollow back and the bottom should not move too far upwards. That happens when it gets strenuous, but then the forearm support is nowhere near as effective as it could – and should be.
Therefore, you should vary the plank exercises
Would you like to make your plank workout even more effective? Then you are ready for our 5 new plank exercises that can do even more than the basic exercise. Because with a few mini changes, the forearm support becomes much more strenuous.
Due to the different variants, the lateral abdominal muscles are also stressed and the rear muscle chain is more involved. An all-round carefree program.
Plank: The 5 best variants
For the best results, you should do the following 5 plank exercises as a circle at least 2 to 3 times a week for 2 rounds.
1. Walking plank
How it works: Forearm support position, support your elbows under your shoulders, place your feet close together, bring your entire body into a stable straight line. Strong trunk tension. Head in line with the spine, looking at the floor.
Support your left hand, keep your body straight, do not rotate or tilt in your pelvis.
Now set up your right hand and force your body weight upwards into the support position. Then lower the weight again, starting with the left arm.
As often as: 10 to 14 repetitions
2. Back support
This is how it works: From the supine position, support your elbows under your shoulders and put both heels on. Firmly tense your torso, legs and bottom and lift your body weight off. Hold straight, look at the ceiling.
Lift your right leg far, keeping it straight and holding it briefly. Then lower and left. Carry on alternately.
As often as: 12 to 15 repetitions per leg
3. Side support combination
This is how it works: lateral support on the right, body weight on the right forearm and right foot, keep a stable straight line, do not tilt or sag in the pelvis. Place your left hand on your left hip, head upright, look straight ahead.
Lift your left leg straight up as far as possible. Balance body weight.
Bring the long left leg back forcefully, hold it briefly, then back to the middle, do not put it down. Keep your body straight at all times. Consciously raise your pelvis again.
Now stretch your left leg powerfully far forward, hold it briefly. Swing back and forth with a long leg and switch sides using the forearm support after all repetitions.
As often as: 8 to 12 repetitions per side
4. The 3-point support
This is how it works: forearm support. Place your elbows under your shoulders, feet tight, and bring your entire body into a stable straight line. To do this, build up strong trunk tension. Hold your head in line with your spine and look at the floor.
Put your right hand forward at a 45-degree angle, at the same time lift your left leg far, keeping your torso stable. Balance, keep it short. Back to the center and repeat on the other side. Carry on alternately.
As often as: 12 to 14 repetitions
5. Plank with turn
Now shift your weight to your right forearm, rotate your body straight to the left and stretch your right leg forward, your body weight is on your left foot. Now stretch your left arm upwards. Hold briefly, lead back to the middle, then to the other side and continue alternately.
As often as : 10 to 12 repetitions per side
Planks train all abdominal muscles effectively and cost-effectively. You only need a mat, because you shape your body with your own body weight. Arms, shoulders, torso, stomach, bottom, legs, everything is made really fit in just 60 seconds with the “easy” exercise.