Plank exercises are a great way to work your abdominal as well as your entire core. The plank exercise helps strengthen midsection, upper-body and lower-body muscles along the front of your body.
It is a great way to build endurance in both the abs and back, as well as the stabilizer muscles. This move is also great for building strength for pushups, an exercise that requires quite a bit of core strength.
*Muscle Group Worked: Abdominal and back muscles.
Basic Plank: Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.
Modified Plank: Lie on your stomach. Raise yourself up so that you’re resting on your forearms and your knees. Align your head and neck with your back, and place your shoulders directly above your elbows. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Create resistance by pressing your elbows and your knees toward one another. Neither should move from their positions on the floor. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the start position and repeat.
Side Plank: (Advanced)
Lie on your left side, raising yourself onto your left forearm. Place your left shoulder directly above your left elbow, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees in alignment. Rest your right arm along the side of your body. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat on your right side. For added challenge, balance on your left hand. Raise your hips off the floor and extend your right hand toward the ceiling. Hold for three deep breaths. Repeat on your right side.
Plank on Stability Ball: (Advanced)
Get into plank position by supporting your body weight with your chest and forearms on the ball and your toes on the floor. Lift your chest off of the ball so your upper body weight is supported by your forearms. Keep your abdominals contracted and your back straight, eyes ahead of you. Hold this position for as long as you can, building up to 1 minute.
Check out these references:
Visit www.discoveryhealth.com for additional information.
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-Eric & Maleka Beal
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*Before beginning any fitness program, always see a qualified healthcare provider for advice and to address any questions or concerns. The exercises presented on this website are for suggestion only and should not be substituted for medical diagnosis or treatment. Participate at your own risk and stop if you feel faint or experience shortness of breath.
Eric and Maleka Beal are health coaches and co-founders of BetterChoices, a health & wellness company and social community focused on educating, advocating, and promoting better health and wellness through lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness education.