Ranked as one of the best exercises that point to the nucleus, particularly oblique abdominal muscles, the exercise of the board rises above the rest in simplicity, efficiency and practicality. The boards are mentioned in almost all the 10 main articles that deal with central muscle workouts. It does not require equipment or any other special gadget to perform. If you have a body, you can do the table exercise.
The basic concept of the table exercise is to assume a well-balanced (or isometric) stationary position while certain muscles or muscle groups are contracted and held for a particular period of time. While the concept may seem simple, it has been shown to be very effective in exercising and strengthening the central muscles. The transverse of the abdomen, the muscles are deep under the obliques that surround the spine to protect it and give it stability; the rectus abdominis – extends along the front of your abdomen and is more commonly known as the “six-pack” muscles; Erector Spinae or the muscles that run along the lower back to the neck; the external obliques or the “love handle” muscles around your waist; and the internal obliques that are located below the external obliques. These muscle groups are involved in performing table exercises correctly.
But the benefits do not end with these central muscles, since the variations in the exercise of the table are, in fact, total body workouts, since they strengthen not only the midsection as described above, but also the muscles of the upper part of the body (including the pectoral and serrato muscles) and muscles of the lower body (such as the quadriceps, the tensor fascia lata and the sartorius).
And as the exercise of the board helps stabilize the hips and spine, it also improves your posture and helps prevent and even correct postural defects.
It is also a very efficient exercise to reduce stress. When muscles tense and tension develops, exercise can stretch and relax them; and in the process, improving your mood and mental well-being. Finally, if you feel that you will eventually want to enter into a more physically rigorous training regime, this exercise will strengthen your core and provide a stable platform for training. Which is always a good idea from the point of view of back safety and training efficiency.
Convinced that you would like to try it? Here are the five basic but very effective table exercises that people use every day to help them get started:
- BASIC PLANK – Lie on your stomach on the floor (use a mat or do it on a carpet or carpet) as in a flex position. Then bend your elbows and place your forearms near the sides of your chest down on the mat pointing forward. Using your forearms and toes, slowly lift your body while keeping your entire body perfectly straight without any part of your body sinking or bending, leaving only the toes and forearms touching the floor. Hold this position initially for about 10 seconds, then increase the time in increments of 10 seconds until you can finally do this for up to two minutes. Remember to keep your head relaxed and facing the floor and concentrate the tension around the middle section while doing this.
- BASIC PLANK Variation: if you find it too difficult to do the previous basic plank exercise, start with this simple and modified version: instead of getting up with your forearms and toes, get up with your forearms and knees. But as in the original version, remember to keep a straight line from the shoulders to the feet for this exercise to work.
- LEG LIFTS: in the same position, this time slowly raise one leg approximately 7-8 inches from the floor, keep it raised for two seconds, then slowly lower it and do the same with the other leg. Do three sets with approximately 10 repetitions per series.
- ARM LIFTS – Again, from the original position of the basic table exercise, slowly move your weight over one arm and carefully lift the other arm, extending it in front of you for 2-3 seconds before slowly returning to the position original. Then repeat the same sequence with the other arm. If you feel really adventurous, try raising arms and legs.
- SIDE PLANK – Lie on your side this time, with your elbow resting just below your shoulder and your forearm extended in front of you. Slowly and carefully lift your body over your elbow, still remembering to keep your entire body straight. Hold this position for about 10 seconds before slowly descending to the floor from the hip. Repeat this sequence three times before switching to the other side of your body.
Watch your breath when you do the above table exercises. They work best with deep diaphragmatic breathing: inhaling deeply through the nose, filling the stomach with air and exhaling slowly through the mouth.
These five basic table exercises are an excellent way to introduce your body to this highly effective but very simple exercise routine and are the basis of the central training pyramid of any personal trainer.