Have you already added the ‘shelf’ to your sports routine? This exercise looks simple but is much heavier than you think. You train almost your entire body with it. What benefits do planks have?
1. It is easy
Shelves are not complicated. For the basic shelf, you first lie on your stomach. Place your elbows under the shoulders and put your toes in the floor. Push your upper body up on your forearms and also lift your legs off the floor. If you find it difficult to raise your body at once, then support your knee as an intermediate step.
You now lean on your forearms and toes and make your body as straight as possible. Your shoulders, hips, and feet form a straight line parallel to the ground. Your back may not be round or hollow. Pull your belly button. Do not look down or straight in front of you, but at the place between your hands. However simple this may seem, it takes a lot of effort to keep your body exactly as straight as a plank. Before you know it, your buttocks will drop to the ground or you will hold them too much in the air.
2. You can shelve anywhere
You do not have to cycle to the gym for a game of boards. A big advantage of shelves is that you can do it on any flat surface. At home on the floor for example. Outside, a lawn is a nice plank spot, but the real fanatics also do it on the street, in the woods and on the beach.
3. You do not need anything
Weights, appliances, expensive sports shoes? You do not need them all for this exercise. You train with your own weight as ballast. Do you suffer from sore knees or elbows, then a soft surface is nice. Go outdoors in search of grass or rubber tiles on a playground. Use within a yoga or sports mat if you have a hard floor. If you do not have a mat, lie on a thick towel or cloth. Even shelves can easily in between, in your everyday clothes. Do it barefoot, socks or comfortable shoes.
4. You train almost your entire body
If you do the plank well, you almost train your whole body with it. You probably feel the first tension in your stomach and in your back. To form a straight plank, you have to tighten your buttocks next to your abdominal muscles. In addition, you put your upper legs, arms and shoulders to work.
5. It helps against injuries
Shelves train your trunk stability or core-stability. With ‘core’ is meant your torso or your core: a corset of muscles around your back, abdomen, and pelvis. You need these muscles when performing all kinds of movements. A stable, strong core reduces the risk of injuries and therefore it is wise to train the stability of your core.
Shelves is a good core stability exercise, just like the ‘bridge’ and imprints.
6. Many variations
Have you mastered the basic shelf and are you starting to find it a bit boring? Then you can get started with all kinds of variations.
Side shelf: Lie down on your side and let your feet rest on each other. Support your forearm and elbow on the floor. Lift yourself up, but keep the forearm on the floor: your body forms a triangle together with the ground. Provide a straight line of shoulder, hip, and foot. For an extra challenge, raise your parent leg.
High-low: Start on a high shelf: this is the same as the basic shelf, but with stretched arms. Then go to the basic shelf by first leaning on your one and then also on your other forearm. Then you first stretch the one arm and then the other arm so that you get back in the high shelf. That way you alternate high and low. Do you get painful arms? Then focus on your core.
Reverse shelf: Sit straight on the floor with your legs straight. Put your hands about 20 centimeters behind you flat on the ground and push your hips upwards until you are as straight as a (reversed) plank.
With a buddy: Stand in front of your training buddy in the high or base shelf. Then lift both your right arm and give each other a high five. Put your hand or warm weather on the ground and then give each other a high five with the left hand.
Superman: Start in the basic shelf or the high shelf. Lift one arm slowly forward and then lift the opposite leg. If you have your left arm in the air, you keep your right leg up at the same time. Hold it for a moment and then switch off with your other arm and leg.
With a fitness ball: You can also shelves with your hands, arms or feet on a fitness ball. Due to the wobbling of the ball your core has to work extra hard to keep your body in balance.