Planks For Seniors To Strengthen The Abdominal And Core Muscles

Planks are the ideal workout for strengthening the abdomen and core muscles for older adults. Continue reading to learn the reason why!

A the abdominal and core muscles are made up of a few different muscle groups that are piled on top of one another. These muscles have the very vital role of keeping us upright. And It is protecting the spine and the organs inside the body.

Weak abdominal muscles can lead to a wide range of health issues, including but not limited to minor lower back pain, hernias, and incapacitating back pain, as well as an increased risk of injury during physically demanding activities and exercise.

A strong core is necessary for everything from merely maintaining balance to walking, lifting items, and performing day-to-day tasks. This includes retaining your equilibrium while climbing stairs.

However, there are a few safety considerations that older adults need to be aware of before beginning abdominal workouts. The primary one is that as we get older, our spines weaken and become less mobile, which can cause back pain.

In order to prevent excessive movement from the vertebrae, which could irritate or harm the nerves, the intervertebral discs begin to compress, and the vertebrae begin to fuse together.

These fusion structures can become irritated if you execute abdominal exercises such as abdominal crunches or leg rises that require spinal flexion. Examples of such exercises include leg raises.

If you are unable to practice abdominal workouts, however, what other options do you have for strengthening your abdominal muscles? Using planks as a means, of course!

What Exactly Is A Plank?

Isometric exercises focus primarily on working the abdominal muscles, and one such exercise is the plank, also known as a front hold, hover, or abdominal bridge. In point of fact, it works practically every muscle in the body, making it an extremely efficient and useful form of movement.

The plank is an example of an isometric exercise, which means that it should be done while holding a motionless position. Your muscles are working hard to keep you in that position despite the pull of gravity.

The idea behind this can appear simple, but actually holding a complete plank position demands a significant amount of strength. If you have read through my free strength training program, then you are aware that all effective strength training regimens include progressive overload in their workouts.

But how can one include progressive overload into an isometric workout in which the participant simply holds a steady position? To begin, there are a few different approaches.

The first component consists of a variety of challenging movement variants. It is possible to increase the difficulty of planks by using leverage, exactly like with push-ups. It is possible to begin the exercise on your knees and then advance to a complete plank position.

The second strategy involves including additional time. Although increasing the amount of time spent in an isometric contraction is not the most efficient method for actually developing muscle strength, it is an excellent strategy for improving abdominal strength.

This is due to the fact that the primary responsibility of the abdominal muscles is to be able to exert a forceful contraction whenever you are engaged in an activity that calls for you to stabilize your core (like lifting something heavy).

Increasing the time spent in the plank position will not only make this bracing pattern more effective, but it will also make it easier for you to hold it for extended periods of time. Your abdominal muscles will be better able to protect your spine throughout severe activities and even during exercise that isn’t as demanding on your body.

Different Takes On The Plank Position

The plank can be performed in a variety of ways, each of which targets a different portion of the core and requires a different level of difficulty. The basic guideline is that the variation will be more difficult if your support points are wider apart (knees as opposed to feet).

There are actually three different helpful options available to seniors, and any one of them can simply complete the task at hand.

The first position is a forearm plank while kneeling. You will be required to complete it on the ground, with your back to the ground. This is the variation that is the least difficult to complete because there is less distance between the support points.

Because of this, the plank posture is less taxing on your abdominal muscles because there is less bodyweight for them to support.

The standard forearm plank on knees is the second version of this exercise. It is performed with the body facing the floor, but support is provided by the feet (or toes) rather than the knees. Both the knees and the hips should be fully extended during the movement.

The fact that a major percentage of one’s bodyweight must be supported in addition to the involvement of extra muscles makes the plank an extremely difficult exercise to accomplish.

The side plank is the last of the three variations. As its name suggests, it is carried out on your end of things. You shouldn’t incorporate them until you’ve reached a point where you can hold standard planks for a significant amount of time. More oblique muscle work is done with the side planks.

This is due to the fact that when you are lying on your side, the gravitational attraction will naturally just effect one side of your body. When holding a plank position, the muscles that are under the most tension are always the ones that are closest to the ground. Therefore, if you attempt a side plank on your right side, the muscles on your right oblique, this will have to work the hardest to support your body weight.

However, this does not imply that they are the only set of muscles participating. Quite the opposite, in fact. Maintaining a plank position always engages the vast majority of your body’s muscles as stabilizers.

Which Muscles Are Being Worked In The Plank Position?

Planks, as we have established in the past, engage the majority of the muscles in your body to sustain the isometric contraction and keep your trunk stable.

Having said that, the abdominal muscle and the spinal erectors are the most significant muscle groups involved in this exercise because they prevent your spine from overextending while you are holding the plank position.

Abdominal Muscles.

The rectus abdominus is the primary muscle that is responsible for the movement. In common parlance, this is what people refer to when they talk about having “abs” or a “six-pack” on a lean and strong body.

When you tense your core, you also put the transverse abdominalis muscle through a high level of activity. It is a group of muscles that are known as the “deep abdominal muscles.” When it is pulled in, it acts effectively like a belt around your middle and gives a significant amount of support.

Additionally engaged, particularly in the side plank, are the muscles of the external oblique.

Muscles In The Back

The plank exercise is particularly effective in working the spinal erectors, which are the lengthy muscles that run along the spine and are responsible for both extending the spine and providing it with isometric support.

As a result of the fact that planks are typically performed on the elbows, the muscles of the shoulder girdle are also kept quite active. These muscles must support your body weight in order to stop your chest from sagging.

Shoulder muscles, pectoral muscles, and upper back muscles are all included in the group of muscles known as the shoulder girdle muscles.

Other Skeletal Muscles

When you are in a complete plank position, your glutes, quads, and hamstrings are all working very hard since they are responsible for supporting your hips while they are in an extended position.

Instructions For How To Perform The Plank.

Plank On Knees.

Because of the reduced length of the leverage, the modified plank on knees is much simpler to complete. The following is how it is carried out:

  1. You begin by getting down on the ground and getting onto your elbows and knees.
  2. Raise your upper body off the floor while simultaneously contracting your abdominal muscles.
  3. Maintain the lowest hip position that you can comfortably achieve.
  4. Check to see that your abdominal muscles are engaged and that your spine is in a neutral position.

Regular Plank.

The plank on knees is a much more manageable variation of the exercise than the traditional plank. Because you must hold your entire body weight between your feet and elbows, the primary focus of this variation is on the legs and hips, which result in a greater degree of muscular activity.

By the way, it’s called a plank because the goal is to have your body as straight as a plank, so focus on keeping your back and hips as straight as possible. This is why it’s called a plank.

  1. You begin by getting on the floor and supporting yourself on your elbows and toes.
  2. To perform this exercise, lift your body, hips, and knees off the floor while simultaneously clenching your abdominal muscles.
  3. Maintain the lowest hip position that you can comfortably achieve.
  4. Check to see that your abdominal muscles are engaged and that your spine is in a neutral position.

Side Plank.

As its name suggests, you should complete the side plank while lying on your side. It is a version of the standard plank exercise that is performed by lying on one side at a time.

Be aware that they are going to put a lot of pressure on your supporting arm because it has to bear a significant amount of your body weight. If you suffer from shoulder issues or elbow arthritis, you should not do these exercises. Employ your judgment and pay attention to what your body is telling you.

It is not recommended that you attempt to perform side planks unless you have first mastered the variations of the standard plank.

Do Elderly People Benefit From Using Planks?

Planks are an excellent kind of exercise for older citizens since they are almost the only effective stomach and core workout that does not call for the senior to flex and extend their spine.

This indicates that there is a reduced risk of exacerbating any lower back problems that already present or of developing new ones. When we talk about back pain, the most significant contributor to your spinal health is the abdominal and back muscles.

The plank exercise can provide numerous benefits for seniors, including:

  1. Improved core strength: Planks target the muscles of the core, including the abs, back, and hips, which can help improve overall core strength and stability.
  2. Better balance and posture: Planks require you to maintain a straight line from head to heels, which can help improve balance and posture.
  3. Reduced risk of falls: Strengthening the core and improving balance can help reduce the risk of falls, which can be particularly important for seniors.
  4. Improved bone health: Weight-bearing exercises like planks can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  5. Increased overall strength: In addition to targeting the core, planks also engage the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and legs, which can help improve overall strength.

It is important to start with modified planks and progress gradually to avoid injury, and to speak with a healthcare provider or certified personal trainer before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any medical conditions or physical limitations.

If you have strong core muscles, your spine will be protected from both injuries and poor posture, both of which can contribute to increased degeneration and back discomfort.

The abdominal and back muscles are engaged in almost every single movement you make. These muscles will be used even while you are just standing or walking, and they are extremely vital for building both balance and strength.

You will require a certain level of core strength to participate in sports such as playing tennis, running, kayaking, or strength training. In order to do these things in a safe and effective manner, you will need to engage in these activities. You can accomplish this goal with the help of planks.

Because planks are a sort of strength training, doing them will help you reach all of the health benefits that other forms of strength training have to offer as well as the benefits that planks alone have to provide.

If you want to maintain a better posture and bring in your waistline, having a strong core will help you do both. Don’t we all have the goal of looking our absolute best?

Tips For Seniors Who Want To Do The Plank Exercise

  1. Start with modified planks: Instead of starting with a full plank on your hands and toes, try a modified plank on your hands and knees. This will help you build strength gradually and avoid putting too much stress on your wrists.
  2. Use proper form: Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engage your core muscles, and keep your shoulders away from your ears. Hold the position for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.
  3. Breathe: Inhale deeply and exhale slowly as you hold the plank position. This will help you stay relaxed and focused.
  4. Stop if you feel pain: If you experience any pain or discomfort while doing the plank, stop the exercise and speak with your healthcare provider or a certified personal trainer to determine if modifications are necessary.


That’s all there is to say about the planks! I really hope that you find this guide to be helpful and that you do decide to use some of these into your workout program. The very best thing about planks is that they are quite simple to perform at home, for instance while watching television.

By devoting just one minute every day to planks, you may literally strengthen your core strength and maintain good condition in your abdominal muscles. That’s right, hold on just a second! Everybody probably has the ability to set aside one minute per day to focus on their health.

There is no other workout that is as time-efficient as the plank due of its portability and the fact that it just only one minute of your time each day to significantly improve your abdominal and back strength. Although it is not perfect, it is adequate for the purpose.

Plank exercises are essential for maintaining good health because they strengthen the abdominal and back muscles, which are second only to the legs in terms of importance. If you sit in front of the television every night and perform 20 squats followed by one minute of squats, you are actually performing a sufficient amount of strength training that will help you improve and maintain your health.

Get a timer or utilize the one that is already built into your activity tracker if you have one, and make it a goal to hold a plank position for at least one minute on a daily basis. You should continue to add seconds until you are able to maintain the position with ease for the whole minute.

If you want to take it a step further than that, I propose that you download and study my free weight training regimen for seniors. You can find it here. It can be done at home or in the gym, and neither location presents any challenges.

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Is planking good for seniors?

A core training activity known as the Plank Exercise Using Sofa for Support is included in the Strengthen Your Core exercise program for seniors. It is one of a variety of core strengthening exercises that are designed specifically for seniors.

Who should not do planks?

If a person has just undergone surgery or suffers from an injury that affects their arms, wrists, ankles, shoulders, or feet, then they should avoid practicing plank pose. People who have had surgery on their abdomen, shoulders, knees, hips, or spines should steer clear of this particular yoga position.

Are planks good for 70 year olds?

However, older adults may have difficulty performing standard abdominal workouts, particularly if they have issues with their lower backs. The plank is the most effective abdominal exercise for those of advanced age.

What happens if you plank for 1 minute everyday?

Reduces belly fat Because the plank stance focuses primarily on working your core abdominal muscles, it is an excellent exercise for reducing the amount of belly fat that you carry around. Simply holding a plank position for a few minutes each day will help you reduce the amount of fat in your abdominal region and give your body a more pleasing shape.

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