Reasons Why Plank Exercises Are Great in terms of fitness

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Some of the best exercises are the least complicated, and plank exercises I think fall into that category. These have recently become an important part of my exercise routine because they are great for core conditioning. In fact, they may look too easy to be beneficial, but especially if you have irritation in the lower back this exercise might be your answer. But it also gives the hamstrings, glutes and shoulders a good workout, and will support proper posture and improved balance.

It should be noted, however that there are some common mistakes made when people do planks, and perhaps even more so than most exercises doing improperly could lead to injury. These exercises will tax the upper and lower regions of the spine. If these areas are weak it will normally cause the spine to sway. This can put compression pressure in the vertebrae and can cause back injuries. It is important especially when starting out, to know just where your limits are and not to exceed them. If you feel any pain in the back area, don't push it, but work your time up little by little.

Besides trying to hold the position for too long, other common faults are placing the hands too close together, allowing the hips and head to drop, and holding your breath. And what should your goal be? You are considered to be fairly fit in the core area if you can hold the abdominal plank position for at least two minutes. But again, you should build up to that point slowly.

That said, here are some reasons why you should be looking to plank exercises as part of your fitness program

1. Posture and balance improvement. By merely staying in the plank position for the period of time requires you to work on your balance. This can be enhanced further by doing planks on a BOSU ball, or by doing side planks. If we do lose our balance and posture position as we age, it is normally because of the weakening in the core area. Planks are great for this.

2. Alleviates back pain. Whatever you do to strengthen your core area is probably going to make your lower back stronger. The reason is because plank exercises require minimal movement while contracting all the layers of the abdominals.

3. Tones the stomach region. These exercises will be in our core muscles of the belly area. This is the foundation of the outer abdominals, or six-pack abs. This will be helped further by pulling in the area of your belly button, which will contract those deep inner transverse abdominal muscles.

4. Builds flexibility. The first time get into the plank position you will probably feel how the body becomes stretched. Not only in your posterior muscles but also in the shoulder area, the hamstrings and even the arches of your feet down to your toes. Plank exercises are a natural for stretching the body.

5. Mood enhancement. All of the above reasons for doing planks will help to improve a person's mood. Stretching and releasing the tension from muscles throughout the body are going to invigorate anyone who does these wonderful exercise routines.Rich Carroll

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