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Effect of plank training for abdominal muscles

Plank may be the most “Internet celebrity” fitness exercise in recent years. Many fitness experts show their own plank practice on social media, and even some well-known corporate celebrities come out to show their plank level from time to time. In the team building activities of many companies, planks are often used for group physical fitness competitions. It’s hard to find any kind of strength training move that has the current “plank” benefits. Is the fitness effect of plank support good or not?Effect of plank training for abdominal muscles

1 minute plank is equivalent to how many push-ups
1 minute plank is equivalent to how many push-ups

What is “plank support”?
It’s safe to say that the plank is a great strength training move. What we usually call plank support refers to the elbow support plank action that is practiced on the flat ground. The basic action requirements during training are:

(1) During the whole support process, the body’s head, neck, back, buttocks, thighs and ankles should always maintain a straight line.

(2) The boom should be supported vertically on the ground without tilting in any direction.

(3) The back should be straight and not arched, the waist should not be slumped downward, the hips should not be pushed up, the knees should not be bent, and the legs and feet should be close together. If any of the above situations occur, it means that the movement has been deformed and should be adjusted back to the correct posture. If you can’t maintain the correct posture, you should end the exercise and rest for a while before moving on to the next training session.

The plank is a static exercise that primarily targets the lower back and core muscles, so it does work the abdominal muscles as some people think. But to maintain a standard plank, the abdominal muscles are only a part of the many muscle groups that exert force. In fact, it can also train the shoulders, back, hips, and legs at the same time. This action is mainly to exercise the ability of each muscle group to synergize force in a static state (muscles are in isometric contraction), among which the role of the abdominal muscles is the most obvious and important.

If you only interpret “elbow plank” as plank support, you are wrong. In order to improve the difficulty and intensity of training, bodybuilders have also developed various types of plank support, such as side plank, rotating side plank, with the help of TRX rope, yoga ball and other gadgets to practice plank support, etc. These variations can enhance the degree of stimulation and better exercise the abdominal muscles.

How to practice plank effectively?

As long as it is not weight-bearing (in fact, the plank is not suitable for weight-bearing training), the plank as a bodyweight training exercise has a limited degree of muscle stimulation. In other words, it’s hard to get great abs just by doing the plank. Systematically adopt a variety of abdominal muscle training movements, stimulate the abdominal muscles from different angles and with different degrees of difficulty, in order to practice strong enough abdominal muscles. Therefore, before asking the question “Is plank training good or not?” exercisers must first ask themselves, what is the purpose of plank training?

If your goal is to lose weight, just doing the plank will definitely not help. Strength training is used to reduce fat, and the effect is far inferior to aerobic exercise, and the training threshold is also higher, let alone the plank.

If your goal is just to strengthen the core strength of the waist and abdomen, and you are not interested in “showing six clear abdominal muscles”, then it is enough to practice planks regularly, even if you do not practice other abdominal muscle training movements.

How to practice plank effectively?
How to practice plank effectively?

But if your goal is to develop “six clearly visible, strong, proud abs”, then there should be a systematic ab training program. It’s not enough to just do the plank, but you can make the plank one of the most important exercises, train it more often, put in more volume, and use more difficulty and more variations. The following gives a reference training program:

(1) Action combination: 4 sets of elbow support plank, starting from 30 seconds each; 4 sets of side plank, starting from 30 seconds each; 4 sets of twist side plank, each set of 8 to 12 times.

Gradually extend the duration of each set or increase the number of repetitions according to each person’s physical fitness. It is also possible to further use TRX ropes and yoga balls to increase the difficulty of the movements. Because the stability of the TRX ropes is low, the requirements for the strength and stability of the abdominal muscles are also higher, the exercise is more difficult, and the corresponding exercise effect is also better. .

There are also some new multi-purpose plank supports that can provide exercisers with better training results, such as automatic timer functions (no more staring at the phone to see the time), more comfortable elbow support and straight arm support Contact surface (no elbow pain from propping up on a hard floor). In addition, it can also provide sitting position training, which is convenient for exercisers to perform exercises such as Russian turn, seated abdomen and leg lifts, and push-ups. Such multi-faceted training can make abdominal muscle training more effective.

(2) Ensure adequate abdominal muscle training frequency. The abdominal muscles are the muscles that recover faster, so after each major muscle group training, you can carry out the above-mentioned “plank-based” abdominal muscle training content.

How to practice plank effectively?
How to practice plank effectively?

Finally, let’s talk about the most concerned question for those who are pursuing “practice six-pack beautiful abdominal muscles”: how long does it take to practice plank before you can really show six-pack abs that are clearly visible to the naked eye? As mentioned earlier, it is not enough to rely on plank support alone, you have to have a systematic abdominal training program. At the same time, for men, you have to first reduce body fat to 15% (the level of the faint line of abdominal muscles), and then further reduce it to below 12%. If it can be lower than 10%, can guarantee that you will be the most attractive abdominal muscle man on the summer beach.

How long does it take to train? There is no standard answer, it varies from person to person. If the current body fat rate is already within the normal range (the normal range for male body fat rate is 15% to 18%), you are working hard enough to participate in abdominal muscle exercises including planks, and you can strictly control your diet, then six After a month or a year, there is a high probability that six pack abs will arrive as promised!

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