During our Cardio Kickboxing classes we like to mix in a number of different body weight exercise to maximize muscle development, for that reason we constantly add the plank!
If you are unfamiliar with the plank you may be confused to why we recommend it, planking seems simple you just balance on your toes and your forearms; However, Planking works almost every major muscle in your body. Starting from the front your traps are on of the first muscles being used, in order to keep your neck up. Following down is your shoulder muscles which are connecting to your traps, and holding all that up is your biceps. Three major upper body muscles being worked all at once by just holding up your body.
Moving towards the midsection of your body we have the chest, abs and lower back! All three of these muscle groups are needed to keep your balance keeping a nice balanced plank, one where you're hips are not not raised to high or to low.
Next follows your lower body, your gluteus, your thighs and your calfs. Just like your arms in the upper half, your thighs, calf and gluteus are keeping your entire lower body working in order to help maintain balance!
Although this exercise strains you most physically, planking takes a toll on you mentally as well. In the Cardio Kickboxing class the instructors may ask you to hold plank for one minute, or even more, and this is towards the end of the workout when you are already exhausted and tired. This is were the mental part comes in, you may feel like quitting and stopping and putting your knee on the ground for a break. Your arms will begin to shake and your legs well begin to go numb, but being around your peers and having a coach motivate you to keep going will help you get through your mental block of quitting and help you stay up to get in the best shape possible. For that reason we love adding the plank to our cardio kickboxing classes!