Health Benefits of Plank Exercise|Reverse & Side Planks Benefits

With a plethora of exercises to choose from, one can lose all those extra pounds and get a fit and toned body in no time. However, the area which troubles most men and women is the abdominal muscles, as everyone aims to get a flat belly by working out regularly, be it at home or at the gym. In addition to all possible exercises, health benefits of plank exercises can be of great help to you. Plank exercises too have plenty of options, but the list is topped by reverse and side planks benefits, which are remarkable.

Health awareness and weight management is on the rise and so is the need to support the spine and the abdominal muscles. Not many people are aware of the fact that there are some amazing health benefits of plank exercises which can prove beneficial in giving you a perfectly flat belly, reducing body fat, toning it and giving it a good shape. Plank exercises and the health benefits of plank exercises especially the benefits of reverse and side planks can be appreciated by all, once you understand them.

Health Benefits of Plank Exercise

Before we get to the health benefits of plank exercises, let us first understand about the plank exercises.

Health Benefits of Plank Exercise

A plank exercise is one where the trunk portion of the body is lifted off the ground while ensuring that the entire body is held in a straight line. This is one of the major fact that adds to the health benefits of the plank exercises, as the body has to take this particular position. A plank may look easy but in reality is a tough job, which needs to be done properly. The health benefits of the plank exercises include tightening and strengthening the core and back muscles. Improved balance, appropriate posture and toned up hamstrings and glutes with regular practice are another important health benefits of plank exercises.

Plank exercises can be done in variations thereby adding intensity to the work out. Adding intensity may also add to the health benefits of the plank exercises. The variations of plank exercises also help to work different areas of the body individually. The variations can be reverse plank, side-planks, forearm plank, push-up plank and one-legged plank to name some. Health benefits of the plank exercises including the reverse and side plank benefits are one of its kind and should be practiced religiously for better results.

Reverse Plank

A reverse plank is exactly the opposite of a plank exercise where the person has to face the ceiling instead of the floor. The body’s trunk portion must be lifted off the ground with support from the hands and heels. Also, the body must be in a straight line just as it is in plank.

Benefits of Reverse Plank

Reverse plank benefits are many and with regular practice you are sure to enjoy most of these.

A Toned and Fit Belly –

One of the major benefits of performing reverse plank exercise every day is that it helps tone your belly and strengthen abdominal muscles. It also helps to reduce fat in both upper and lower parts of the stomach, which offers great health benefits of plank exercise. Reverse plank exercises have been proven to lay foundation for a six-pack abs. Engage and tighten your abdominal muscles completely when doing a plank or reverse plank and enjoy the real reverse plank benefits.

Reverse Plank is Beneficial in Reducing Pain in the Back –

Reverse planks helps stretch the entire back muscles thereby relieving it from any kind of pain. An important health benefit of plank exercises, where plank exercises can be used as therapeutic management of back pain. It also helps in strengthening back muscles and can protect your back from injury or pain. The lower back is worked out well during a reverse plank thereby reducing fat too; yet another essential reverse plank benefit.

Benefits of Reverse Plank in Boosting Mood –

Exercising in general acts as a very good mood booster but planks and reverse planks seem to top the list. Muscles often become tensed and stiff, if they remain inactive for long and the pent up stress in the muscles becomes a potential cause for a person’s overall stress. As planks help to relax and stretch various groups of muscles in the body, the tension that gets built up in these areas gradually releases during a plank. This adds to the health benefits of plank exercises, thereby helping in lifting a person’s mood and spirit immensely.

Increases Flexibility –

An essential health benefit of plank exercises, as a flexible body is able to lose weight and gets toned more rapidly than a stiff one. Reverse plank exercises increase the flexibility of the upper body and the muscles around the arms and shoulders. Another area which becomes flexible with reverse planks is the arches of toes and feet and the hamstrings, thus offering great benefits.

Improves Posture –

People who perform reverse plank exercises 3 to 4 days a week have a far better body posture than those who do not. Reverse and side plank benefits can be appreciated when you are able to stand or sit up straight for long hours without difficulty. This is because the main health benefit of plank exercise is that it works out the core muscles and strengthens the upper arm muscles. Performing a reverse plank, not only strengthens your back but also increases the blood flow in this area, thus helping muscles to function better and improve the posture.

Side Plank

As the name suggests, side planks is a variation of planks where the person performing the exercise lifts the trunk portion of the body off the ground sideways instead of front. Side planks are carried out for the same duration on both left and right side. Health benefits of plank exercises are enhanced by side plank exercise benefits.

To perform side planks, lie on the left side and prop yourself up with the help of your left forearm which will rest on the ground. Keep the shoulder and elbow in line. Now raise your hips allowing the body to form a straight line to the ground so that a triangle forms between your body and the floor. Keep the right hand on your sides or up in the air.

Health Benefits of Side Plank

Health Benefits of Side Plank

Like reverse plank exercise benefits, you are sure to experience side plank benefits, if you perform them regularly.

Helps Reduce Fat on Sides –

Side planks are especially designed to reduce fat on the sides of your abdominal muscles. So, as an important health benefit of plank exercise, it tones your sides giving it a perfect shape and curves to the sides of your belly. Side plank is also beneficial in reducing side fat. Holding the side plank position longer can reap more benefits.

Strengthens the Spine –

This is an important reverse and side plank benefit which not everyone knows about. Side planks not only strengthen the spine immensely but also help to reduce serious problems related to the spine such as spinal curvature. It reduces the chances of getting a spinal problem in the future and has been proven to eliminate the need for corrective surgery for the spine in individuals who practiced it religiously.

Side Plank is Beneficial in Improving Body Balance and Coordination –

Side plank is one of the best variations for improving body balance. When you rise up on your sides during this exercise the body tries to balance the entire body weight in the middle thereby challenging it to get the perfect balance in the first place. If you want to increase the balance challenge, slowly lift the free arm up in the air and keep it there for as long as you hold the plank position. This is specifically an important side plank benefit that will help to improve your overall health. This adds to the health benefits of plank exercises and makes it a popular form of exercise.

Side Planks Help Build Strength in Shoulder and Arms –

This is another useful health benefit of plank exercises. When you raise your entire body in a side plank position, your shoulder and arms take most of the weight with support from the legs and try to maintain the balance. This in turn works to build strength in arms and shoulders allowing them to carry the weight while also balancing the body; an additional benefit of side plank exercise.

Side Plank is Beneficial in Strengthening and Stretching the Wrist –

The entire weight of your arms comes down to the wrist of the hand which touches the ground. This helps to stretch and strengthen them to a large extent as side planks provide a lot of power to the wrist area, adding to the list of reverse and side plank benefits.

Improves Concentration –

Performing side planks require immense concentration as you have to create the perfect balance between your arms, body and legs. This can work out to be a great experience where your concentration skills improve drastically, allowing you to concentrate on stuff better and for longer durations. Health benefits of plank exercises are indeed comprehensive and can give you a complete healthy routine.

In addition to all the health benefits of plank exercises; both reverse and side planks benefits mainly aim at activating all the muscles in your body. Another important advantage of plank exercises is that they can be modified according to your personal need to reap the most health benefits of plank exercise. Reverse and side plank benefits also include improvement in your movement and coordination.

In order to reap maximum health benefits of plank exercises, you must perform them right after finishing those exercises which help strengthen core muscles such as crunches, reverse crunches, 90 degrees toe-touch to name some. Plank exercises, be it of any variation are most effective when done after those exercises which help reduce belly fat.

So what are you waiting for? The health benefits of plank exercises are many and not to forget the additional benefits of reverse and side plank. So, go ahead and make plank exercises an integral part of your daily exercise regime to strengthen not only your back and belly but your entire body!

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 3, 2018

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