Planks – Why do I make you guys do them?
Have you been to my Sunday class (11:30am – 12:30pm)? I've always made my class do a few sets of planks before the wods. A lot of people have been asking/complaining with “why”? My short answer will always be“it's good for you”. I'm not doing it because I want to torture you guys, nor do I need to use it as a filler of time in the class. I do think that it's a very useful, an under-appreciated and an overlooked exercise that we all should be doing.
When you think of a planking exercise, you probably think that it's something that works our abdomen muscle group. You would be right, but that's not all. The abdomen muscle group is only a part of our core. Planking will actually be a full body workout. It will work on our shoulders (lats, traps, deltoids), back, triceps, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and especially our core (abs, back, oblique). The core will most likely get the most benefit of this exercise.
Let's explore our core functions real quick (This topic can get into very detailed, so I'll try to sum it up). Our core acts both as a stabilizer (static) and a mover (dynamic). A lot of movements we do in a wod will help with dynamic function (toes to bar, v-up, and situp). We work on the static function, usually, through lifting weights (deadlifts, overhead squats, shoulder to overhead movements). The static function is not being focused on specifically like the dynamic ones, however the static function is actually the one that helps us execute the dynamic movements and lifting so well. So an extra work will be greatly appreciated by our bodies. That's where planking exercises come in.
So why should we work on the static functionality of the core? The basic answer is that so you will have a strong stability of the core, improve your dynamic movements on the core and increase stamina as well. Here are a few benefits of a well-maintained core:
- Protects the spine, surrounding nerves and muscles
- Helps keeping our chest up when squatting heavy
- Helps keeping our rib cage down (not arching your back) during heavy shoulder to overhead lifts
- Helps keeping our back braced and not rounded during deadlifts
- Helps you lift heavy
- Helps with fatigues while lifting, exercising
- Helps you lift with consistency
- Potentially helps with the lower back issue (I'm not a doctor. I strongly believe in this, but consult with your physician if you have any back problems)
- Runs faster, longer
- Maintains balance
I'm excited to see everyone excelling in their fitness journey. I want to make sure that we're not ignoring our unsung hero muscle group. The protector and the one that holds everything together. Work on the core. Your body will appreciate you for it.
Note – there are so many variation of planking that we can do. I'm excited to explore them with y'all :)
Strict Pull-Ups 4 Sets of 4 Reps, hold 2 seconds with your chin at the bar and a 4 second negative, if you can’t hit the reps, use a spotter or band. If 4 is too easy then add more reps until you need a spotter to finish
3 Deadlift (Mx 205/145, Rx 245/165, Rx+ 315/185, FB 365/225)
6 Ring Dips
Core (Mx 10 Sit-Ups, Rx 15 Sit-Ups, Rx+ 10 V-Ups, FB 9 unbroken Toes to Bar)