In a recent interview, Miranda Kerr described her daily routine that includes a 10 minute plank. While there are discrepant valuations of the plank*, overall it can be a worthwhile complement to any exercise program. Its benefits include balance and stability, along with strengthening muscles through resistance training. Some individuals might feel as though body weight resistance does not provide enough of a challenge for them, in which case they could add weight or make the position more dynamic by incorporating instability (one leg/foot, changing foot and hand positions).
When beginning planks and working up to several minutes of plank pose, excellent form is crucial. Improper form can lead to sore backs, or sore necks and shoulders which can then cause headaches. Try the movements slowly, gradually increasing the hold, always aware of your body positioning.
A version of a 10-minute plank workout is outlined below, incorporating varied movement to reduce boredom and target different muscles:
0:00 – 0:30 – high plank
0:30-1:00 – right side plank
1:00-1:30 – left side plank
1:30-2:00 – high plank
2:00-2:30 – dynamic extension (opposite hand/opposite foot)
2:30-3:00 – alternate dynamic extension
3:00-3:30 – child’s pose
3:30-4:00 – caterpillars
4:00-4:30 – downward dog
4:30-5:00 – high plank
5:00-5:30 – right side plank
5:30-6:00 – left side plank
6:00-7:00 – holding bridge (try to stretch shoulders!)
7:00-7:30 – high plank
7:30-8:00 – upward dog
8:00-8:30 – right side plank
8:30-9:00 – left side plank
9:00-9:30 – downward dog
9:30-10:00 – high plank
Stretch neck, shoulders and arms to prevent soreness.
As you gain confidence and strength, exchange the filler movements (child’s pose, downward and upward dog) with planks.
Born Fitness: http://www.bornfitness.com/are-planks-overrated/
Sports Medicine Answers: http://sportsmedicine.answers.com/training/what-do-plank-exercises-involve