As we’ve said before, abdominal strength is crucial to supporting your back, and when those core muscles atrophy through inactivity and lack of exercise, back pain is almost always inevitable. While getting to the gym can be a hassle in our increasingly busy everyday lives, you don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to find relief. Set aside 5 minutes in your daily routine and see what kind of results planking can offer you.
The exercise is simple enough. Assume a push-up position, but instead of supporting your upper body with your hands, use your elbows and forearms to make contact with the ground instead. Legs, hips, and back all remain straight, just like a normal push-up.
Passion4Profession and LifeHack.org have a great article and accompanying video on planking that also lists additional benefits from good core strength. They include things like increased mood, enhanced mental activity, better relaxation, improved metabolism, and better posture. All for just three minutes a day? Count us in!
Make no mistake about it: 3-5 minutes can feel a lot longer than you think in this position. Have a timer or stopwatch at the ready the first time you do this exercise, and see how long you can last. Make a note of how long you hold the plank every day, and as it gets easier, add another 10, 20, or 30 seconds to your time until you’ve reached your goal.