A new lunar year just started and we want to proclaim it the year of the plank. It’s the trendiest exercise there is right now. So if you only have time for just one short workout session a day, and don’t want to spend money on a gym membership or any expensive machinery, you should really consider planking.
What it works: Abs, chest, glutes, lower back, core.
The result: Strong abs, a strong core, more power, better coordination plus you get to look good on the beach.
To begin, you can choose between a full plank or an elbow plank: start by making sure that your arms are perpendicular to the floor and the shoulders are placed directly over the wrists, torso parallel to the floor. Spread your fingers and firm the bases of your index fingers into the floor. Open up your chest, place shoulders as far away from the ears as possible and press your shoulder blades against your back. Straighten your body but keep your neck and spine neutral. Imagine that you’re a plank of wood, and that you’re straight as an arrow. Keep your eyes on the floor in front of you. Actively work with your heels pushing them back away from you and squeeze the glutes to stabilize the bottom half of the body.
Hold the position for 20 seconds to start out. As you get better, increase the time or add different variations.
Place the forearms on the ground with your elbows aligned below the shoulders. This position is slightly easier to hold than full plank position.
Position the body into a full plank, then lift one leg up as far as you can. Flex your foot. Keep the hips parallel to the floor, hold for around 30 seconds then alternate legs.
Lie on one side with the legs stacked on top of one another then lift the body up on one hand with feet stacked.
When you master all positions, try to combine them into a five minutes series:
- Hold full plank for 1 minute
- Switch to elbow plank for 30 seconds
- Perform raised leg plank with both legs for 30 seconds each
- Then side plank on each side also for 30 seconds
- Go back to full plank for 30 seconds
- Finish off with 1 minute elbow plank
Repeat every day for at least a month and get ready to rock beach season 2014!
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