When in doubt, plank it out

The good old plank…definitely one of my favorite exercises, which – as you can see – I do in the comfort of my own living room. I highly recommend this exercise to everyone, whether you are a pro or new to fitness, it doesn’t matter. You’ll benefit immensely from this super effective exercise.

So, what’s so great about this exercise anyway? For starters, it works with your own body weight – no equipment required, and engages all the main muscle groups (abs, back, glutes, hamstrings, upper arms and shoulders) simultaneously. It strengthens your core, ensures a strong support for your back, improves your posture, improves flexibility and sculpts your waistline. If done properly and preferably every day, first results are visible and perceptible as early as 2 weeks. No crunches or tedious sit-ups required. Need I say more?

While admittedly an intense exercise, it doesn’t require a lot of time on your part to be effective. A total of 5-6 minutes/day, which you can easily split up, is all you need.

I do this exercise twice a day, every day: I start with 2.5 minutes in the morning before I hop in the shower and will do another 2.5 minutes in the evening, either when I get home from work or before bedtime. Adding up to a total of 5 minutes a day. It’s as easy as that and by now it has become a habit and I do it automatically – usually listening to a song or even reading a few pages on my kindle to make the time pass by quicker.

So, let’s get started, shall we? Push your coffee table aside and join me on the floor…

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                                                                                                        © 2017 fit-andfabulous.com

Low Plank

  1. Get to a pushup position on the floor. Feet hip-wide apart.
  2. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
  3. Set your shoulders (they should be as far away from your ears as possible).
  4. Your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Your legs are stretched out behind you. Pull your feet back.
  5. Form a straight line with your body starting from your head to your feet.
  6. Brace your abs by sucking in your tummy and squeeze your butt and thigh muscles. Make yourself as stiff as a board.
  7. Continue breathing. Don’t hold your breath.
  8. Look down on the floor in front of you and keep your head in a neutral position. Don’t look upwards.
  9. Hold the position for as long as you can. If you are new to this exercise, try to hold for at least 30 seconds and gradually work yourself up to 1 minute during the first week. Add 30 seconds each time during the second week and 30 more the following week until you work yourself up to 2 minutes.
  10. Option: You can start out with a bent-knee plank, instead of stretching out your legs right away. Try to work yourself up to a regular plank by the second week. You’ll get faster results that way.

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                                                                                                       © 2017 fit-andfabulous.com

High Plank

The same as above but with arms stretched out under your shoulders, with your weight resting on your hands.

As soon as you are able to hold your plank for 2 minutes, start to do variations of the plank:

Leg Raised Plank

  1. Hold plank position (either low plank or high plank)
  2. Start with right leg and lift until you feel your glutes and hamstring muscles engage.
  3. Set back down and lift left leg.
  4. Repeat for 1 minute

Side Plank

This is great for working the oblique muscles, responsible for sculpting your waistline.

  1. Turn onto your right side with your legs extended and stacked on top of each other. Your feet and hips are resting on the ground.
  2. Place your right elbow directly under your shoulder to prop up your torso, and align your head with your spine. Rest your other arm on your hips or lift it up above you, facing the ceiling.
  3. Gently lift your hips and knees off the floor by contracting your abs
  4. Hold the position for 1 minute
  5. Roll onto the other side and repeat.

Keep up the good work and get those abs you’ve always wanted. Happy planking everyone 🙂

Let me know how it’s going.

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