PLANK - How is it done and what are the benefits?
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Working on your core muscles - not just your Abs - PLANK exercises help provide stability too.

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If you haven't heard of PLANK exercises here are some tips to get your started in the UAE

Having a strong core is crucial for balance and helps with other exercise techniques too. One of the best core exercises you can do is the PLANK.

  • ‘Plank’ is a great exercise for general core conditioning and strengthening the mid-section. Can Planking also help with balance and posture and if so how.


    Doing the plank for core fitness in the UAEPlank is a good exercise to strengthening your core muscles. Core strength is intimately related to balance, because you need good stability at your core to have safe and effective movement at the hip, knee, and ankle.

    You can think of the core as your foundation. It’s made up of several muscle groups: The rectus abdominals (“abs”) at the front of your abdomen; the internal and external obliques, in the front and side of the abdomen; the tranversus muscles that run horizontally across your lower abdomen; the erector spinae, the large muscles on either side of your spinal cord; the muscles surrounding your scapulae (shoulder blades); the gluteus muscles in your hips and buttocks; and the iliopsoas and quadratus lumborum muscles in your pelvis. These muscles provide stability to your trunk. They link your upper and lower body and enable you to move in any direction or stand in one spot without losing your balance. “If your core isn’t strong or stable, it will be impossible for the arms and the legs to move well,” says Collins. A weak core can undermine the motions that are part of your everyday life, such as walking, bending, turning, dressing, and bathing, let alone the larger movements of sports activities.

    Also if you are looking to improve your posture, planks are a great total body exercise that is efficient, effective, can be done anywhere, and progressed or regressed to fit any fitness level.

    Research from Dr. Stuart McGill lab has shown that the core is constructed to create a corset around the lumbar spine. This corset is built to keep the spine rigid during rotational and compressive forces. For most people, the best core training is that which limits or resists motion of the lower back (lumbar spine). Planks do just this. More traditional abdominal exercises like sit-ups and crunches flex the spine, and while that may be good for building a 6 pack, it’s probably not the best choice for your lumbar vertebrae and continued back health.

    Many people in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah have what is referred to as desk jockey posture from sitting all day in front of a steering wheel, computer or TV. This posture leads to a rounded upper back, forward shoulders and posterior pelvic tilt. Basically, the length-tension relationships of the muscles have changed from being hunched over all day. Some muscles become overstretched, some shorten, others become overactive and others under-active. This tends to lead to what’s called “hanging off of the hard structures”. Instead of using the muscles to provide stability for a neutral spine, we slide into positions that allow us to use the bones for stability. Planks are (usually) all about creating a neutral position. It stands to reason, that the muscles, which are worked in a plank, are also the ones that have an effect on your neutral posture. Muscles like the gluteus, spinal erectors (low back), oblique and scapular stabilizers (upper/mid back muscles) help to pull you back into a more neutral position. While simply doing a few planks as part of your exercise or personal training routine in the UAE weekly probably will not fix your posture completely, they’ll help activate and build endurance in the weak, under-active muscle.

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