Monday, February 3, 2014

Easy Plank Exercises

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), planking is one of the best abdominal exercises a person can do. It is an exercise that is effective for anyone wanting to improve core strength and balance.  It will tighten both stomach and back muscles as well as strengthen arms, shoulders, hips and pelvic floor.  By strengthening your core you are not only on your way to a flatter and sleeker tummy, but it helps prevent injuries. This is because a strong core allows a person to catch and balance oneself following a stumble instead of falling and getting hurt. Perhaps best of all, you can do this in the ease of your home because no equipment is necessary. Plus, for sit-up haters, there are no crunches. All you need is YOU and a couple minutes of your day. 

Basic Plank











  1. Place your forearms on the floor, elbows under your shoulders and extend your legs behind you while balancing on your toes as pictured above.
  2. Keep your back flat and maintain a straight line from head to toe.
  3. Tilt your pelvis slightly downward and simultaneously contract your abdominals (hold in not suck in).  This is to help prevent your rear end from popping up or sagging in the midsection.  Remember, your goal is to keep a straight line from top to bottom. 
  4. Start holding for 10 to 60 seconds and repeat up to five sets (so hold for x amount of seconds, rest, repeat, rest and do it again up to a total of five times).
  5. Your ultimate goal is hold for as long as you can without losing form.
  6. What you can do one day might not be what you can do on another day. Hold for as long as your body tells you to hold, which is typically longer than you think. So, when you think you've reached your max, try holding just 3 to 5 seconds longer. You will amaze yourself!

Plank With Arm Reach










  1. Position body as you did for basic plank.
  2. Once balanced, slowly raise and extend one arm out in front of you as far as possible.
  3. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds or for as long as you can (same concept as with basic plank).
  4. Rest
  5. Repeat with other arm and when finished, that is one set.
  6. Do 3-5 sets. 

Plank with Leg Raise
  1. Position body as you did for basic plank.
  2. Keeping the core stable as you have learned to do, contract your rear end and raise one leg up as far as you can without hunching or distorting the straight line from head-to-toe you have adapted for planking. 
  3. Hold 10 to 20 seconds or for as long as you can (same concept as with basic plank).  Rest if necessary, then switch legs.
  4. Completion of both sides equals one set.
  5. Do 3-5 sets. 

Plank with Arm and Leg raise








  1. Position body as you did with basic plank or as pictured above with hands flat on the floor directly beneath your shoulder.
  2. When you are balanced, lift both arm and leg slowly extending arm as you simultaneously raise the opposite leg.
  3. Hold 10 to 20 seconds or for as long as you can (same concept as with basic plank).
  4. Rest if necessary, then switch sides.
  5. Completion of both sides equals one set.
  6. Do 3-5 sets.

Beginner Superman Plank













  1. First position body into a basic plank.
  2. When you are ready,  contract your rear and tilt abdominals and then very slowly bend and lift one leg off to the side.
  3. Make sure to keep that head-to-toe line you have become accustom to and hold 10-20 seconds or for as long as you can.
  4. Rest and repeat on opposite side.
  5. Do 3-5 sets.

    Advanced Superman Plank


When you successfully complete Superman Plank, and if you have access to a Bosu, use it to preform Superman as shown in Advanced Superman Plank to increase difficulty.  In fact, adding a Bosu to any plank will increase difficulty in addition to building and strengthening your core fitness.

By now, you are feeling and seeing the fruitage of your hard work. Keep it up and feel free to Google more plank alternatives.

Enjoy!

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