There are two lines of training beliefs when it comes to tightening and firming the mid drift section.
Static planks are great, but they shouldn’t be considered a goal — they are a starting point. Life is movement and our training should prepare us to do just that.
The current record for the longest time in a plank position is three hours seven minutes and 15 seconds. That is beyond difficult of course, but it’s also kind of pointless. In that same amount of time, you could’ve benefitted from a 3-hour bootcamp session that burns off 2,000 calories.
Planking Alone Doesn’t Make You Stronger
It’s like a long cardiovascular training session in the form of a plank. If you can hold a plank for three hours, you aren’t necessarily getting any stronger; it just means that your core muscles are made for endurance.
Here is what you need to know about the humble plank. Up to 10 years ago, the staple exercise for abs were sit ups. All types of sit ups. Doorway sit ups, bench sit ups, declined sit ups, ab machines. The more you can grind out, the more prominent the six pack.
After about a decade of that theory, some academics came out with an astounding revelation. The number of sit ups done don’t correlate with a six pack abs or a stronger core.
What is Core?
A new exercise term was created: The core. Just like all physical movements, the plank as we know today had no official name. But it has been around for as long as man was in a missionary position to procreate, if you know what I mean.
Life is Movement, Not the Absence of It
Done properly, planks are a wonderful exercise for teaching trunk, hip and shoulder stability by integrating a full-body contraction. This is an ideal starting point for activity.
Once you’ve mastered good plank technique, stop holding it for longer amounts of time and start moving it. Despite the intense muscle burning, long isometrics actually burn the lowest number of calories. Life is movement, not the absence of it.
Follow a system for developing moving plank options so you know why you are adding any movement to planks.
Whenever I am speaking on the topic of ab training, I always ask the audience, “What’s the purpose of planks?” I am usually met with silence, so I’ll ask the question again, this time letting them know that they are unlikely to offer an incorrect answer. Now, I start to get some responses, most of which are abstract and generic, even if they are correct, such as: “They teach full-body stability.” “They develop good core strength.” “They help prevent back pain.”
Okay, but why do I want any of that?
What’s the Purpose of Having Good Core Strength and Full Body Stability?
To do stuff! It’s not a complicated answer. Our body’s trunk acts and reacts on all our movements, even when we sit.
Whatever you want to do, play a sport, play with your kids, compete in obstacle races or catch butterflies, your core is central of all that movement. Core activation is in presence at all types of movement.
Thus, the ultimate purpose of planks is to get better at moving.
It’s the basic exercise for core strengthening. It makes little sense then to have a core-strengthening program that focuses with the absence of movement as a start. This idea has gotten out of hand to the point where some people erroneously recommend doing only anti-rotation exercises to train rotation. Think about it this way: Sitting behind the wheel of a car that is motionless is not how you learn to drive.
At some point in your life, you will need to move quickly, randomly, and correctly to avoid injury. Strength in the center gives you more powerful, controlled movements. If you have watched kung fu movies, that’s the key takeaway lesson.
Keeping still forever in exercise is like staying in first grade forever. You learn planks to be able to do harder things. Planks are very effective for preparing you to do something harder than a plank.
Plank holds are a staple exercise at Rebel BootCamp. The standard in Rebel BootCamp is to challenge participants to hold for 1 minute in base. A progression to a longer duration is good. You would be a champion if a 3-minute hold is possible.
Fitness is not graded from just one ability though. Speed utilizes the power of core. Strength needs core, core assists endurance, balance needs core too. It all starts from the humble plank.
Strengthen your core with the trainers at REBEL Bootcamp, who also trained the contestants on the Biggest Loser Asia Season 2. Sign up for one month of awesomeness with REBEL Bootcamp at only RM49 (normally RM300) and see how your body and mind transforms for the better. Find out more here or check out Rebel Bootcamp’s Facebook page or website.
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