If you've ever tried any sort of workout regimen, you've probably been exposed to this dreadful exercise... the Plank.
It's one of those isometric exercises that works almost every muscle in your body at the same time your brain is saying "PLEASE STOP!"
It's hard, I know. But it's also one of the most effective exercises... if you do it right. And that's a big IF.
If you've worked with me before you know I am BIG on alignment and form so you can squeeze the most out of a short workout.
For this exercise, it's extra important to read through the cues, and then give it a try. You might not get through it the first time, but just keep practicing. Once you get your alignment in check, you'll start to notice not only differences in overall toning, but your posture, and even your mood might change.
- 60-Second Plank: Set yourself up in this plank position to start. The key is to make sure your shoulders are over your elbows, and your weight is shifted to the balls of your feet. Picture making a straight line from the top of your head to your heels, lengthening through your entire body. As you do this. slide the shoulder blades away from the ears, drawing the thighs up and towards each other and pulling the abdominal muscles up and in towards your spine. Think about engaging the abs even more every time you exhale. Hold for 60-seconds, coming down to the knees if you really need a break. Rest in child's pose for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
- 90-Second Plank with Knee Tread: Hold the plank from position #1, and drop your right knee, and then left knee down towards the floor, but without resting the knee completely. In this exercise nothing else moves except the knees so make sure you keep drawing the abdominal muscles up and in to keep your hips level. Do this for 90 seconds, then rest in child's pose for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
- 60-Second Twisting Plank: Holding the plank from position #1, and this time squeeze the thighs and feet together. Place a slight bend in your knees and then twist your knees and your hips fully to the right, while keeping your shoulders level, and your chest facing down towards the floor. Feel the opposition of your shoulders and chest anchoring the front of your body, as your hips and knees twist through your lower body to engage your obliques. Twist right to left for 60-seconds. Rest in child's post for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
- 90-Second Plank w/ Leg Raise: Holding the plank from position #1, raise your right leg, Keep the rest of the body stable in your plank position, and your right hip, thigh, knee, and foot facing straight down towards the floor. Find length between the top of the head and the right heal. Engage the right glute muscle (butt cheek) and draw both legs in towards the midline of your body. Lower and lift the leg for 45-seconds, and then switch sides. Rest in child's pose for 15-seconds and then repeat all 4 exercises.
If you want to try another variation for your second round, try the same exercises but holding a plank on your hands. This will work the muscles of the shoulders, chest, and back a little more. All of the same alignment cues apply!
When you're done, share the news with a friend, and challenge them to try the workout! Tweet it!