The plank is a difficult exercise, but it is one of the best for your posture. During my 30 years of practice, I have found that the more simple and concise exercise prescriptions are the ones most likely to be performed. To do that we must choose the most efficient exercises.
The plank is one of my favorites because it is so effective. The plank strengthens your abdominal muscles in a very safe manner. Crunches are great but they do increase the pressure on the discs in your lower back when you bend forward. The plank can strengthen without increasing disc pressure. It also targets the transverse abdominis which is a muscle important in the stability of the core.
The plank also strengthens the shoulders and rhomboids, which help you stand straighter. The rhomboids pull your scapulae also known as wing bones in your upper back more upright improving your posture. This is incredibly important considering how much we are bending our shoulders and head forward for phones, ipads, and laptops.
The improved posture and stronger core is an important part of treating and preventing lower back pain. When the abdominal muscles are weak it puts more pressure on the lower back allowing the muscles of the lower back to tighten. The tighter muscles in the lower back increase the pressure in the spine and lower back pain.
The body uses core muscles when balancing, which means a stronger core improves balance and decreases the risk of falls and injuries. Planks improve endurance which helps you to maintain balance In physically exhausting situations.
If you can’t do at least a 15-second plank you can lower your knees and build up to one minute then lift your knees and use your toes. Whether you can do a one-minute plank on your toes or just 15 seconds on your knees just get started.