On your forearms

Last year when the 30-day plank challenge erupted on social media, it made absolute sense. Finally, a challenge that was a departure from the crazy meaningless challenges like Kiki to Ice Bucket to even the Bird Box challenge to what not! A challenge that most recently became the Guinness World Record set in none other than India and as a part of India’s 71st Republic Day celebrations when as many as 2471 people, including celebs like Mary Kom, Anil Kapoor and Mithali Raj, congregated at Mumbai’s MMRDA ground taking up the plank challenge as a part of the #PlankFor India initiative. Not a new movement for planks, with every other day celebs’ videos balancing their forearms and toes on stability balls doing the rounds on social media. “See, this is not the era of body builders, it’s the era of fitness and body shaping, which is what makes them popular among both men and women,” Vishesh, personal trainer, Ozi Gym and Spa Mohali, gets us started on the benefits of planks, especially for those who want the six packs.’ Not to forget the stability balls commonly used in the exercise that helps strengthen and stabilize the core muscles. Since by working on the ball, one is forced to maintain balance on an unstable surface. Although there are more than dozen types of exercises, from the basic planks to the side plank to full planks with a leg lift. Now, who can’t do it? Before we get to people with no core strength at all and unable to hold themselves in any of the plank position, he talks about people who shouldn’t even attempt doing planks. “People with cervical problems and any sort of lower back issues, are not advised to do planks, at all.” The best way to do planks While power repetitions with short breaks might be the norm in several workouts now, he advocates continuity to derive maximum benefit from planks. “Whatever your capacity, 30 seconds, 40 seconds or 1 minute, but ideally one must put oneself in a position continuously to build the stamina and core strength.” He adds, “One can do a 1 minute plank challenge and repeat in sets of three. But there is no point taking a break within one minute.” As for beginners, they can start with 30 seconds and slowly build up. The plank don’ts Like most forms of exercises, right from yoga to Pilates, it’s the incorrect position that he often finds people doing planks in. “If the position is incorrect one can even hold on for a good two minutes, whereas in reality that is hardly having any effect on your body. People don’t even come to know when their position gets incorrect while doing planks, either the legs will be close, or the grip of the hands won’t be okay.”
In the perfect position, a plank done for one minute is more than enough, he says. “I personally can easily hold on for two minutes when in perfect position.”

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