With the everyday hustle and bustle, it’s easy for most people to forget to take care of their health. They tend to indulge in a never-ending series of cheat meals just to relieve the stress and anxiety. The diet and exercise regimen gets ignored, and this unhealthy lifestyle marks the beginning of various diseases and health issues.
Aside from the fact that people should limit their calorie consumption, they should maintain an exercise schedule that burns more calories than they consume. Plank is one of the best calorie-burning exercises out there, and it requires no equipment. People can perform planks practically anywhere, even in the office. Hence, there’s no excuse for those who are pressed for time to skip burning calories.
The Importance of Burning Calories
Calories aren’t bad for the body. The body needs calories for energy. Yet, consuming too many calories and not burning enough of them off can result in significant weight gain. It is, therefore, essential to push the body beyond its comfort level so that it burns enough calories. The more calories it burns, the more weight and fat a person loses.
Even if the person only wants to build muscles and not lose weight, he still needs to burn as many calories as possible. He needs to reduce the fat in his body to increase his muscle mass. By burning the calories and working on the muscles, he could enjoy significant muscle gains and an overall pleasing physique.
The Number of Calories Burned Per Minute
Plank is an excellent go-to-exercise. Not only does it strengthen the lower abdomen muscles, but more importantly, it engages a range of muscles. By engaging more muscles, it significantly increases one’s calorie burn.
It has been observed that a 150-pound person can burn up to 5 calories a minute holding a plank. However, the exact number of calories burned depends on several factors such as body weight and amount of time spent in a plank position. It would also depend on the conditioning level and metabolism of the person doing the plank. Thus, the answer to how many calories do planks burn would be that this exercise burns a considerable amount for some fantastic benefits.
The Proper Form of the Standard Plank
The proper form is extremely important when doing a plank exercise. Not only will it help one achieve desirable results, but will also help prevent fatigue and pain in the back.
- Lie down on your stomach. Ensure that the floor’s surface is even.
- Position your forearms underneath your shoulders with your elbows tucked in and your fists clenched.
- Lift your body off the floor so that your weight is on your forearms and toes.
- Form a 90-degree angle with your arms. Make sure your shoulders don’t cross your fists, and your weight isn’t in the front.
- Tighten your core muscles and glutes. Your body should be in a straight line from your shoulder to heels.
- Contract your abdominal muscles to keep your body straight and prevent your stomach from hanging.
- Look down with your nose pointing down, ensuring that your neck muscles aren’t strained.
- Hold this position for as long as you can. The longer you stay in this position, the more calories you burn.
What to Avoid
Sagging your hips. Once your abs reach their fatigue limit, your hips will start to sag. That’s a sign that it’s time to end the plank. But if your hips are sagging from the beginning, separate your feet a bit wider. Additionally, try to engage your abs.
Arching your back. A common mistake that most people commit is arching their back. In this position, they lift their chest, yet their stomach remains on the floor. Do not mimic this position as this can strain your back and your elbows.
When you are lowering and raising your body, keep your torso in a perfect plank position. Also, keep your abdominals engaged at all times.
Collapsing your knees. If you fail to engage your core and quadriceps, your knees will most likely cave in as you perform a squat. When your knees are positioned inwards, the stress is placed on them, and this is not preferable. As an alternative, open up your legs so that your knees are pointing ahead. For your planks to be robust, align your knees with your ankles.
The Ways to Increase the Calorie Burn
Planks offer an unmatched workout experience since one can do them anywhere and anytime. They burn enough calories because they are tough and make one push beyond the normal limits. More than anything, the several variations of the plank allow one to further his calorie-burning rate.
- Lie on one side with your elbow directly underneath your shoulder and your arms flat.
- Keep your knees on the floor, put your legs together, and raise your hips.
- Position your hand on your hip or raise it straight towards the ceiling.
- Hold the position for 60 seconds while squeezing your glutes.
When you are comfortable with the position, lift from stacked feet and not knees. This will help you increase the difficulty. You can also build more excellent stability by lowering or raising your hip.
This variation allows you to gain greater body awareness and control. It engages different muscle groups, including abs, glutes, triceps, shoulders, obliques, and hamstrings. While you can use a mat while doing this full-body exercise, a foam roller is more preferable. It challenges your triceps and alleviates strain in the wrists at the same time.
- Sit tall on the floor and make sure that your legs are extended long in front of you. Position your hands on top of the foam roller.
- Activate your core, glutes, and arms while you lift your hips. Ensure that your heels and shoulders form a straight line. Do not sag your hips nor lift them too high.
- To add some tricep dip, hold your plank. Then, arch your arms and point your elbows straight back.
- To add a leg raise, hold your reverse plank. Then, bend at your hip and kick your left leg up towards the ceiling. Keep your hips stable and your upper body strong as you perform the kicking. Finally, slowly return your leg to the floor.
To add an even more significant challenge, you can walk sideways with your plank. This plank variation helps strengthen your core as well as your upper and lower body muscle groups.
- Begin with a full plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders.
- Engage your abs and glutes so that you can prevent injury and obtain maximum benefit.
- Move your right hand and foot to the right simultaneously.
- Lift your left hand and foot so that they meet in the center. Then, go back to the plank position.
Do not hurry because the walking plank is not a speed exercise. The more concentrated and slower your pace is, the more benefit will your body and core get.
- Start with a full plank position.
- Pull your knee towards the outside of your elbow. Next, push your knee back to return to the plank position. Do this with your knee open so that your inner thighs hover over the floor while you move.
- Exhale as your knee rounds forward and inhale as you push your knee back.
Plank with Shoulder Taps
- Begin with a full plank modified on knees.
- Activate your abs and lift one arm without swaying your body. Bend that arm at one elbow and cross your hand to your opposite shoulder.
- Alternative sides to finish the rep.
This plank variation engages the whole body, making it an excellent full-body exercise with a burst of cardio. When performing this, it is vital to keep the wrists, arms, and shoulders stacked throughout.
- Assume a standard plank position.
- Position your hands an inch wider than your shoulders. To stabilize yourself, utilize your upper body and pelvis.
- Contract your abs and draw your left knee towards your chest. Do this without lifting your hips.
- Extend your leg back to the initial position and finish one side.
- Alternate with the right knee until you achieve your desired number of reps.
As you’ve mastered the exercise, you can pick up the speed. You can also try the exercise with a toe tap without necessarily touching the ground.
Swiss Ball Jackknife
This plank variation is excellent for building strength and stability. However, it is essential always to keep a neutral spine while doing this exercise.
- Begin with a full plank position and place your feet on the exercise ball.
- Tighten your abs and align your spine for maximum stability.
- Roll the Swiss ball forward with your feet and pull your knees toward you. Do this without dropping your hips or rounding your back.
- Roll the ball back with your legs extended then go back to the full plank position.
The Bottom Line
The pursuit of calorie burning and significant weight loss often seems like a lifelong ordeal. So many things- burgers, pizza, and pasta can thwart healthy lifestyle goals. But with planks, anyone can get the job done. The standard plank is a great place to start burning calories, but one can also multiply the calorie-burning benefits of the plank by performing the challenging variations.