Unleash Your Core Potential: The Science Behind the Plank

Unleash Your Core Potential: The Science Behind the Plank


The plank exercise stands as a symbol of core strength and stability, revered across the fitness world. From workout classes to personal training sessions, the plank has cemented its place as a cornerstone exercise, offering a variety of planks such as wall plank exercises and side plank exercises. But there's a catch: performing this seemingly simple move incorrectly could undermine its benefits and even lead to injury. In this article, we'll delve into the core of planking, addressing common questions and misconceptions while uncovering the secrets to better posture, effective core engagement, and efficient movement.

Planking exercise for beginners 

Planks go beyond endurance; they embody a strategic approach for better outcomes. Our 10-week online Functional Patterns course emphasizes contextual core activation's significance. This principle delves into when and how core muscles activate during different ranges of motion as it relates to the function of standing, walking, sprinting, and throwing. Some individuals will often be able to maintain core engagement while standing. However, any positional change can rapidly diminish this core involvement. Therefore, the plank exercise, particularly the plank exercise for beginners, is only one piece to the posture optimization puzzle.


Functional Patterns was designed to optimize the First Four human movements: Standing, Walking, Running, and Throwing. To better understand the plank exercise benefits and how a plank can help you strengthen your core for best results, let's take a closer look at how our abdominal (core) muscles come into action with these four movements that are essential for human survival.

Imagine your core  as a powerful team made up of different layers of muscles. These muscle layers provide dynamic support for the spine, aid in movement, protect the internal organs, let you twist and turn comfortably and contribute to maintaining proper posture. Whether you're walking, sprinting, throwing or in an athletic position like cutting laterally, these muscles work in a coordinated way to help you maintain structural integrity..

How long should a beginner do a plank for?

The inquiry "How long should a beginner do a plank for?" commonly surfaces in online discussions. This curiosity often arises among those new to fitness or embarking on workout routines, seeking the optimal duration for sustaining a plank. This query stems from the need to establish a viable starting point and progress safely while effectively enhancing core strength. Consequently, a plethora of articles, forum threads, videos, and fitness resources endeavor to address this question. 

However, it's important not to be easily swayed; always seek out concrete before-and-after results. Reflect on whether you observe a notable structural transformation in the images showing progress. Considering these factors, I wholeheartedly recommend the Functional Patterns 10 Week Online Course for achieving the most substantiated outcomes in terms of comprehensive, not just core-specific, but overall strength and structural integrity. In this course, you will understand the significance of thoughtful alignment while performing a plank, as the posture you maintain during the exercise reflects how you'll stand later. Consequently, we consistently recommend sustaining a plank for the duration that allows you to uphold proper form throughout.

Plank exercise for beginners

Do planks burn belly fat?

"Can planks help burn belly fat?" This question arises as individuals pursue targeted solutions for reducing fat, particularly in the abdominal region. However, effective fat loss necessitates creating a caloric deficit—consuming fewer calories than your body expends—prompting the utilization of stored fat for energy. Attaining successful fat loss encompasses embracing a comprehensive approach: maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in autonomic nervous system balance, and collaborating with a FP Biomechanics Specialist for expert guidance. These synergistic endeavors contribute to an all-encompassing decrease in body fat, spanning the mid-section.

Plank exercise for beginners

A prevalent concern that often surfaces is bloating. Addressing this issue is pivotal, and it involves steering clear of inflammatory foods. This step proves essential in mitigating abdominal bloating. For more detailed insights, consider delving into the article titled "Grains, The Uncomfortable Truth."


How do you know if you’re doing a plank correctly? 

Achieving a proper plank requires maintaining proper form and engaging your core effectively. I highly recommend the 10-week online course for a solid beginner plank workout. Let's examine the image below. In this image, you can observe Naudi instructing his client to maintain a straight body line, a neutral spine, as they engage their core. This type of alignment will reinforce structural integrity when we stand and are under the pressure of gravity.

Plank exercise for beginners

The following images depict Naudi identifying common mistakes during a plank exercise. Will adopting this position likely lead to optimal standing posture? Probably not.

Plank exercise for beginners

Plank exercise for beginners

Images from Functional Patterns 10 Week Online Course


If you encounter challenges in achieving proper form, there may be preliminary exercises that require attention. Notably, in the FP 10 Week Online Course, the plank exercise for beginners is introduced in week five, following four weeks laden with exercises designed to prepare you for an effective plank execution. 


In conclusion, plank exercises for beginners can vary from one individual to another. Precision in executing this exercise remains paramount, ensuring both safety and optimal benefits. The article delved into the initiation of beginner plank workouts, accentuated the significance of FP's First Four movements, and accentuated planks' pivotal position in achieving comprehensive core engagement. The article covered topics such as ideal plank durations, the potential correlation with belly fat reduction, and practical methods for addressing bloating concerns, all underlining a holistic approach. 


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