Bored of Doing Sit-ups? Then Plank Out!
Planks will tone your abs and boost your sex life.
Many women are not huge fans of sit-ups. I’m personally not crazy about sit-ups or crunches as my only option of exercise for strengthening my core, being that when we get too tired of repeatedly doing them, it becomes harder to maintain proper form. Also, sometimes we can’t figure out why we don’t feel our abs working even though we are doing so many sit-ups. Once we lose proper form, we end up using our hip flexors and lower back muscles instead of our abdominal muscles. This can cause strain on our lower back and neck. Therefore, give your sit-ups/crunches a break and add planks to your core workout. Plank exercises engage multiple muscles at once compared to sit-ups, which focus more on the Rectus abdominal muscle. This muscle runs vertically on the front of your abs and is the only muscle being worked when you do a regular sit-up. But when you do planks it’s not only strengthening the front of your abs, but also your Transverse abdominis, obliques, your shoulders, arms, back, glutes, and leg muscles. Most importantly, it strengthens your pelvic floor muscles which contract during sex to enhance your sexual sensation.
Likely you’ve heard of the famous Kegel exercises that can help improve your sexual pleasure by increasing blood circulation to your vagina and pelvic floor muscles. Resulting in making it easier to reach orgasm and increase sexual arousal. Well, Dr. Debby Herbenick, who is an associate professor at Indiana University’s School of Public Health and the author of The Coregasm Workout, states that “women can also strengthen their pelvic floor muscles with core exercises.” She suggests that the plank not only improves core stability, but also strengthens your pelvic floor muscle, which can increase sexual pleasure. These are two perfectly good reasons why you should add planks into your workout routine. Keep in mind that most people can only last 30 seconds when they first begin to plank, but over time you will improve. This can be an exciting way to challenge yourself by setting new goals each time at the gym or in bed.
1. Plant hands directly under shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder-width) like you’re about to do a push-up.
2. Ground toes into the floor and squeeze gluteus to stabilize your body. Your legs should be working too and be careful not to lock your knees.
3. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
4. Hold the position for 10 – 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising your form. Engage your core by imagining your belly button pulling in toward your spine.
- This is an easier variation. Place forearms on the floor with elbows aligned below shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together.
2. Don’t forget to squeeze gluteus to stabilize your body and to pull your belly button in toward your spine to makes sure your abs are working.
3. If you’re a beginner, try to stay in the plank position for about 10 – 20 seconds. As you build strength, work up to holding for 30 seconds, then for 1 minute.
Maritza Diaz Fasack has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Hunter College, a Master of Science in Education, and Recreation from Lehman College. Physical Education Teacher for 24 years. ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor. Certified SilverSneakers Instructor. Professional Member of American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Founder of Westchester County Hispanic Women Educators https://www.facebook.com/groups/WCHispanicWomenEducators IG: https://www.instagram.com/wchispanicwomened/