How to do the Classic Plank, you ask?
1. Begin in the plank position with your forearms and toes on the floor/grass/your fav spot.
2. keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
3. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
4. Hold this position for a few seconds (or minutes if you are so brave) to start.
5. Over time work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds.
Try to keep your abdominal muscles engaged and do NOT let your stomach drop or allow for your hips to rise up. And remember to breathe.
However, if you want to take your plank to a whole new level, one of the best ways is simply lift up an arm or foot. Or do the Side Plank … ;)
Come onto your left forearm with elbow under shoulder and feet stacked. Lift hips up as high as possible, forming a straight line from head to heels. Extend right arm directly over shoulder and press right hand into the mat. Keep core engaged the entire time. Hold for 30 seconds each side. For an extra challenge, lift your left leg up as well.
Tip: Keep in mind, however, that in order to truly maximize the fat burn around the belly, the plank exercises need to be paired with cardio. Working the core in a functional, progressive manner will give you nice, lean muscles that will be on display once that layer of fat is burned off by doing both cardio and cookitfit (cleaning up your diet) on a weekly basis.
The plank tones and strengthens every part of the body: abdomen, arms, legs, back, shoulders, hips, butt. It’s the one thing I do every single day for a few months now, even if I have no time to do anything else.
Here are my top five reasons to add planks to your workout every day:
1. It will improve your core definition (and running performance, I promise!)
Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose.
2. It will tone up your arms
When you are in the plank position, you use your biceps to keep your upper body weight off the ground. The effect is similar to weight lifting without the need for any equipment. If you push yourself to hold the pose for more than 60 seconds at a time, you’ll soon see noticeable changes in the look and tone of your arms.
3. It will improve your posture
A strong core translates to an upright body. Through strengthening your core you will be able to maintain proper posture at all times because muscles in the abdomen have a profound effect on the overall condition of your neck, shoulders, chest and back.
4. It will improve your balance
A solid core increases stability in the entire body which is essential for balance and coordination. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.
5. You can do it anywhere and anytime
There’s no need to go to a gym for this (I love this one!) Just get down on a yoga mat or grass or your fav spot and try to hold the correct pose for 60 seconds or more. If you can, take a 10-second break and do it again. Aim for three sets in the first week.
Or follow this Three-Minute Perfect Plank Workout
So, are you READY to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong? Then jump right in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life like I did. I’ve been doing the planks for 4 months now and I couldn’t be happier with the visible results.
Stay healthy and run happy!