When it comes to fitness, planks are one of the most popular exercises out there. They are simple, require no equipment, and can be done anywhere. But what are the benefits of doing planks? Specifically, do they help burn fat or build muscle? Let’s take a closer look.
What are Planks?
Planks are a bodyweight exercise that involves holding a push-up position for an extended period of time. The exercise targets multiple muscle groups, including the core, back, shoulders, and legs. There are several variations of planks, including:
- Traditional planks: Involves holding a push-up position with the body straight and parallel to the ground.
- Side planks: Involves holding a push-up position on one side of the body, while the other arm is extended upwards.
- Reverse planks: Involves holding a push-up position with the body facing upwards.
How Do Planks Affect the Body?
Planks are primarily a strength training exercise. They are effective at building muscle in the core, back, shoulders, and legs. As you hold the plank position, your muscles are forced to engage to maintain the position. Over time, this leads to muscle growth and improved muscle endurance.
In addition to building muscle, planks can also have a positive impact on your metabolism. Holding the plank position requires energy, which means your body burns calories during the exercise. This can lead to an increase in your resting metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories even when you are not exercising.
Can Planks Burn Fat?
When it comes to burning fat, it’s important to understand how the body burns fat. Fat is stored in the body as triglycerides, which are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol to be used as energy. To burn fat, your body needs to be in a calorie deficit, meaning you need to burn more calories than you consume.
While planks can help burn calories, they may not be the most effective exercise for burning fat. Other forms of cardio, such as running or cycling, may be more effective at burning fat because they require more energy and involve more muscle groups.
Can Planks Build Muscle?
Yes, planks can be effective at building muscle. The exercise targets multiple muscle groups, including the core, back, shoulders, and legs. By holding the plank position for an extended period of time, your muscles are forced to engage and work harder. Over time, this leads to muscle growth and improved muscle endurance.
However, it’s important to note that planks alone may not be enough to build significant muscle mass. If you are looking to build muscle, it’s important to incorporate other strength training exercises into your routine.
How to Incorporate Planks into Your Workout Routine
If you want to incorporate planks into your workout routine, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Start with the basic plank position and gradually work your way up to more advanced variations.
- Aim to hold the plank position for at least 30 seconds to start, and gradually increase the duration over time.
- Incorporate planks into a well-rounded fitness routine that includes other forms of strength training and cardio.
In conclusion, planks can be an effective exercise for building muscle and improving your overall fitness. While they may not be the most effective exercise for burning fat, they can still help you burn calories and improve your metabolism. By incorporating planks into a well-rounded fitness routine, you can reap the benefits of this simple, yet effective exercise.