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Plank Exercise

Essential Exercise

Plank with Butt Lift

Lying in the starting position above (upper body propped on forearms), tighten your abs and butt and lift your body until it makes a straight line from your head to your heals (don't let your hips sag). Keeping your torso stable, lift your right leg off the floor, then lower it. Lift and lower opposite leg. Continue to alternate leg lifts; work up to a total of 2 minutes (start with 30 seconds if you are a beginner).

Trainer tip: If you need a break, just lower your knees and rest for a moment.

How to perform The Plank Exercise:

  1. Lie with legs extended, toes tucked, and upper body propped on forearms.
  2. Lift body so weight rests solely on forearms and toes, forming a straight line from heat do toe.
  3. Keep abs contracted and hold 30 seconds (gradually working up to 60); repeat 3 times.

Plank Exercise

Variation: Single Leg Plank Raise

  1. Start by forming a straight plank with your forearms and feet as the contact points on the ground.
  2. Once the plank is formed raise one foot off the ground and then return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat this movement for the desired repetitions alternating back and forth between legs.

Single Leg Raise Plank Exercise

Plank Walk-In

Targets core, chest, shoulders

Assume push-up position on a standard yoga mat, arms straight and feet together. Keeping core tight, hop feet out wider than mat, then hop back to starting position. Next, draw right knee toward chest. Pause, then return to starting position and repeat with left knee. Return to starting position to finish one rep.

Make it easier: Stop at the squat; don't come to standing.

Plank Jack

Targets butt, thighs, core, chest

Assume push-up position, arms straight and spine long. Keeping core tight, step left foot next to left hand, then right foot next to right hand, coming into a deep swuat. Pushing through heels, stand and raise arms overhead. Slowly reverse move to complete 1 rep.

Troubleshooting

  • Back feels pinched. Engage your abs and tuck your tailbone under by tilting your hip points toward your chin. If it still hurts, drop to your forarms. Getting closer to the floor decreases gravity's stress on your body.
  • Not feeling it in your abs. Exhale through pursed lips, as though blowing out a candle. Imagine you are pulling your hands and feet toward each other. If you still don't feel it, rock your torso forward and back. You could also try alternating a lift of your legs for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Neck pain. Hold a tennis ball between your chin and clavicle to help you avoid over-flexing your neck. If it still hurts, raise your plank by placing your hands on a bench or counter. This will reduce the stress on neck muscles.
  • Wrists hurt. Press your palms into the mat and slide your shoulder blade down your back to alleviate pressure. If your wrists still hurt, hold on to hand weights. That will keep wrists straight.

Side Planks

Side planks require you to work a lot harder against gravity. Consequently, you target your oblique muscles much more efficiently and effectively.

Pro tip: Flex feet, lift hips, and engage core to maximize toning power.

Side Plank Exercise

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