At first, my plank only lasted 30 seconds. But over time, I worked my way up to two minutes. I liked the way it made me feel, so I kept doing it, especially after I realized what this simple, yet brutal, core exercise was doing to my body.
Yes, it was strengthening my core and boosting my overall flexibility. My abs and lower back definitely feel stronger and ready for almost anything. My posture improved. I also saw a noticeable difference in my balance as well due to improved core muscle strength.
But, I expected that. The plank has been shown to work all of the muscles in the core, something that cannot be said for simple crunches. This was no surprise.
However, planking for 2 minutes also helped something else. Something I never expected.
Doing planks improved my mood, every single day. If I missed a day, I would feel it – not just physically, but also emotionally. I would just not feel the same.
After my plank, I felt happier and more content with life. With my surroundings. I felt as if everything was going to be okay with the world.
My mood improved due to several factors.
First, exercise releases endorphins, which is a chemical that promotes a feeling of pleasure and energy. But, planking also helps to both stretch as well as relax virtually all the muscles in the core, and we use our core muscles a lot during the day.
Even just sitting, our core is still engaged to a degree. I learned that the planks I did in the morning helped release tension throughout the day, hours after the plank.
The plank single-handedly turned me into a much happier person.
The plank can be done in a variety of positions. Two of the most common are the high plank and the low plank. But, there’s also a side plank.
The high plank begins as you would a pushup. Both feet, as well as both hands, are in firm contact with the floor at all times. Arms and legs are straight. Make sure to avoid arching your back during the movement. Keep your back as straight as possible during the plank.
To use the low plank variation, simply drop down to your forearms. This variation will target your arms a little more than the high plank and will take the pressure off of your wrists. Again, keep your back as straight as possible.
If you’re looking for something a little more difficult, the side plank might be up your alley. A side plank is performed by turning to one side, resting on that side’s forearm, legs straight, and letting one foot rest on top of the other. Raise your hips and knees off of the ground and hold.
The plank is a great low-impact way to strengthen your core, improve your posture, and boost your mood. Try giving the plank a try to see the impact it can have on your life.