Health Benefits of the Plank PosePlank pose is an incredible addition to any workout routine. Even if it is the only exercise you do, it provides health benefits. It is a total body workout, and if practiced daily, you will begin to notice a difference in your body and strength. Here are some specific benefits that may interest you to practice your plank:

1. Strengthens the Wrists and Hands:
There are not many exercises that offer this advantage. For example, have you ever had trouble opening a lid on a jar? Let’s face it- we all have. Other than gaining some independence in the kitchen, the mechanisms of plank pose increases wrist and hand strength AND flexibility. If you have any type of hand or wrist pain, Plank pose can reduce this pain. That is great since we all use these body parts for just about everything that we do.

2. Lengthens and Strengthens Neck Muscles:
The neck is a very common pain area for a couple reasons: tension and tightness. All 18 muscles in the neck are responsible for different movements that we all experience in one way or another in our day-to-day life. However, some movements are practiced much more than others. For example, it is common to work certain neck muscles when we look down at our phones or at our computers, but other movements are neglected, like extending the neck very long to lengthen the spine. With the balance of these muscles disrupted, pain can occur and in turn, sleep is often disturbed because of it. So, planking can improve neck muscles and my sleep? Sounds good to me!

3. Reduces Back Pain:
The spinal extensors are a group of muscles that run about the length of the spine vertically. They play a key role in the alignment of your spine, and quite frankly, your whole body. The act of engaging these back muscles in your plank contracts and strengthens them. The beautiful conclusion of this is saying goodbye to lower back pain and potentially to the overall misalignment that occurs along your back.

4. Improves Posture:
Plank pose works all the muscles responsible for keeping you upright- meaning your back, chest, abdominals, shoulders, and neck. Planks also increase your flexibility in the muscle groups that often do not receive much attention. These include the muscles around your collarbone, shoulder blades, hamstrings, the arches of your feet, and even your toes! This one move will have you sitting and standing with better posture effortlessly and with ease. Cheers to no more slouching or the pain that comes with it!

5. Total Body Toning:
Total Body is right! Planking helps build the muscles deep inside your core that are the foundation for the infamous six-pack. As the abdominal muscles get stronger, the midsection tightens so hello tight tummy! Planks are also responsible for tightening arms, specifically the triceps. Tightening your triceps counteracts the looseness that is often referred to as “flabby arms.” While there are many more muscles that are toned by the plank, let’s talk about the buttocks. The gluteus muscles are toned incredibly by the plank pose. When these muscles are toned it aids in proper hip and pelvis positioning while also lifting the glutes. Who doesn’t want that?

So how do you properly practice the plank pose, you ask? It’s simple!

  • Start on your hands and knees with your wrists aligned directly under your shoulders. -
  • Tuck your toes and ground them all in to the floor as your straighten both your legs, pulling them back, one leg at a time.
  • Push your heels back behind you and firm up your leg muscles.
  • Lift your kneecaps up and tailbone back.
  • Push your hands and all your fingers evenly into the surface you are practicing on.
  • Be sure to tighten your core and distribute your weight throughout your whole body.
  • Push your shoulders down and away from you ears as you straighten out your neck.
  • Keep your back straight while paying close attention to not letting your stomach or lower back sag towards the floor.
  • Most importantly, don’t forget to breathe normally throughout this exercise!

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Photo credit: By Jaykayfit (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons