So many people are experiencing back pain at one time or another during their lifetime. A core stabilization exercise, commonly known as the plank, has been building a reputation around the fitness community as a great way to help reduce your risk for back injury and back pain. When performed correctly, plank exercises are touted by many medical professionals and fitness professionals and enthusiasts for helping relieve lower back pain as well.
What Does a Plank Look Like?
A plank requires a person to hold their body up by their arms and feet. There are many variations; some popular options are the high plank, forearm plank, and the side plank. Planks primarily target the anterior or front of the body ‘core’ muscles.
Another variation, called the reverse plank or bridge exercises, target more of the back of the body ‘core’ muscles. They do not engage the arms or shoulders. There are plenty of instructional articles and videos, such as this one from livestrong.com, to ensure you perform them properly for safety and maximum benefit. There are also guides for how to fix common plank mistakes.
How Do Planks Help Back Pain?
According to acatoday.org, over a year, more than 264 million lost work days are attributed to back pain. It can affect people of all ages, and experts estimate that about 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time throughout their lifetime. Strengthening your core will help reduce your risk.
The abdominal, back, and pelvic muscles make up your body’s core muscles. These muscles are involved in pretty much every movement your body makes in one way or another. Planks work specifically on your ‘core’ body muscles.
In addition to strengthening the core muscles, planks have many other benefits, including reducing and relieving the risk of back pain and injury. Routinely and properly performing planks can also improve your metabolism, posture, flexibility, and overall mood.
Plank with Caution
Some people are skeptical of planks. The exercise is simple, but, by far, it is not easy. You may need to use modifications at first. It is also advised, as with any exercise, not to overdo it.
Planks have been reported to cause and aggravate a condition known as costochondritis, which is a painful condition where the cartilage that connects your rib to your breastplate becomes inflamed.
As with other exercises and programs, people with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, may not be advised to incorporate planks into their routine. You should always consult with your primary care doctor.
Some people who consider the plank to be overrated cite the fact that you cannot add additional weight or increase the resistance as you do with other strength training programs. However, there are ways to raise the difficulty with advanced plank positions, and you can always incorporate other core building exercises that will help build on both the strength and size of muscles.
Total Chiropractic Care Can Help
Total Chiropractic Care & Wellness incorporates lifestyle advice for balanced, well-rounded treatment. Exercise is part of the big picture to not only ease any existing back pain but help to reduce your risk of future injury and pain. Contact us today!