Optimal Therapy Plank Progressions
Have you ever wanted one exercise that would tone your entire body while burning plenty of calories? Perhaps, a simple exercise that holds the potential to change the trajectory of your entire fitness level only by performing it a few minutes each day. Well, the answer to your lingering question is none other than the plank! This exercise requires no equipment and can be done from the comfort of your home, making it extremely convenient.
This simple yet effective workout targets all major muscle groups including the arms, abdominal, back, and leg muscles, while synergistically improving balance and coordination. Although it seems intimidating for beginning physical and occupational therapy patients, the following post along with videos will demonstrate three variations of a plank that you can try based on your personal fitness and comfort level.
The following plank variations are in increasing order of difficulty. As previously mentioned, each variation of a plank will target all areas of the body, but as the level of difficulty increases, the body will recruit more specific muscle groups, ultimately giving you a more thorough workout.
- Level 1
This beginner level plank will focus on strengthening the muscles of the shoulder, arms, and upper back. Specifically, these muscles include triceps, deltoid, trapezius, and rhomboids. This exercise is ideal for new physical and occupational therapy patients recovering from upper body injuries.
- Level 2
This intermediate level plank involves balancing the body on the toes and palms of the hands, which now is providing a total full body workout. This targets every major muscle group as mentioned previously, while further advancing one’s coordination. The benefits of this level include burning ample calories, strengthening the entire body, and improving coordination.
- Level 3
This final level is designed for advanced or expert patients in physical and occupational therapy. Now, this variation of the plank involves balancing on the forearms and toes which requires even more strength to maintain for an extended period of time. Similarly, this targets every major muscle group with an emphasis on the core muscles such as the obliques and transverse abdominis. Benefits of this exercise extend beyond just improving the physical strength of the body, but also improving balance and coordination, which are critical for an overall healthy body.
Overall, any variation of the plank exercise will significantly improve the coordination, strength, and balance of the human body. Regardless of lifestyle choices or fitness level ability, there is a plank for everyone. By incorporating this simple exercise into your daily routine for just a few minutes, measurable changes will occur.
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Optimal Therapy is unique and one of the best choices for your physical and occupational therapy needs. Our team of highly-trained physical and occupational therapists are all patient focused and passionate about delivering a great experience every time. We offer many physical therapy services including fall-prevention, pelvic health, pediatrics, geriatrics, surgery recovery, dry needling, joint mobility and more! We also provide in home care and Telehealth appointments to meet you exactly where you are at.
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