During a plank, there is no way to use added resistance – like you do when lifting weights. This limits muscle strength and potential growth. On the other hand, a good fitness professional can change the difficulty level to make the plank more or less challenging. As you progress, you can try advanced plank variations that require greater balance and strength.
How Effective Is the Plank, Really?
Just like anything else, planking has pros and cons. The standard version and the side plank strengthen the core muscles, increase muscle endurance, and build awareness of optimal body alignment. These attributes make them ideal for newbies and rehab patients. The downside is that your progress will stall unless you switch to more advanced versions as you get stronger.
When combined with a balanced diet and regular training, the plank can shape your body and build core strength. As your abs become stronger, your mid-section will tighten. This exercise helps you build the foundation for that six-pack look. Over time, it can also improve your flexibility and overall balance. However, planks alone won’t lead to those types of results. To reap their benefits, mix them with other core exercises as part of a regular workout routine. Remember that abs are made in the kitchen, so what you eat can make or break your progress.
Post written by Andra Picincu – a certified nutritionist and fitness trainer. She is dedicated to helping others achieve a strong, lean body and improve their health. For custom diet plans and personalized workouts, visit her blog at Shape Your Energy.