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The Ultimate Guide to Plank Exercises: Forearm vs. Extended Arm

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The Ultimate Guide to Plank Exercises: Forearm vs. Extended Arm
Jefit – #1 Gym / Home workout app

The plank exercise is a staple in any fitness routine, celebrated for their ability to strengthen the core, improve posture, and enhance overall stability. Among the variations, forearm and extended arm planks are particularly popular. But which is the best? Let’s delve into the benefits and differences of each to help you decide which one to incorporate into your fitness regimen.

Plank Exercise Variations

Forearm Plank: The Core Stabilizer

The forearm plank, also known as the low plank, is performed with your forearms on the ground, elbows aligned under your shoulders, and your body forming a straight line from head to heels. This variation emphasizes core stability and engages the transverse abdominis, the deep muscles that play a crucial role in stabilizing the spine.

Benefits of Forearm Planks:

  1. Core Strengthening: Targets the deep core muscles, including the transverse abdominis, obliques, and rectus abdominis.
  2. Spine Protection: By engaging the core muscles effectively, it helps in reducing the risk of lower back injuries.
  3. Improved Posture: Strengthens muscles that support good posture, reducing slouching and promoting a straighter spine.

Extended Arm Plank: The Full-Body Activator

The extended arm plank, or high plank, is performed with your hands placed directly under your shoulders, arms fully extended, and your body forming a straight line. This variation not only works the core but also engages the upper body muscles, including the shoulders, chest, and arms.

Benefits of Extended Arm Planks:

  1. Upper Body Engagement: Strengthens the shoulders, chest, and arms along with the core muscles.
  2. Increased Difficulty: Requires more balance and stability, making it a more challenging variation.
  3. Versatility: Serves as a foundation for many other exercises like mountain climbers, push-ups, and plank variations.

Which Plank Exercise is Best?

Both forearm and extended arm planks have their unique benefits, and the best choice depends on your fitness goals and level. For beginners or those with shoulder issues, the forearm plank is a great starting point. It focuses more on the core and reduces the strain on the wrists and shoulders. For those looking for a full-body workout and an added challenge, the extended arm plank is ideal.

Tips for Perfecting Your Plank

Regardless of the variation you choose, proper form is crucial to maximize benefits and prevent injury. Here are some tips:

  1. Alignment: Ensure your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Avoid sagging your hips or raising them too high.
  2. Muscle Engagement: Actively engage your core, glutes, and legs to maintain stability, throughout the entire duration.
  3. Breathing: Keep a steady breathing pattern to maintain oxygen flow and reduce tension.
  4. Duration: Start with holding the plank for 20-30 seconds and gradually increase as you build strength.

Conclusion

Incorporating plank exercises into your fitness routine can yield significant benefits for your core strength, stability, and overall fitness. Whether you prefer the forearm plank or the extended arm plank, either one can be beneficial in any exercise program.

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The post The Ultimate Guide to Plank Exercises: Forearm vs. Extended Arm appeared first on Jefit – #1 Gym / Home workout app written by Michael Wood, CSCS.