Happy Tighten and Tone Tuesday! Today we're going to review proper form for a plank. This is a great exercise that surprisingly doesn't require you to know a pirate or touch a wood board (we hate splinters too much to make you do something like that and don't live close enough to the Caribbean for Jack Sparrow to invite us on board). In fact, all you need is your own body! Found it? Good! Here's what to do to work your entire core (abs and back):
1. Find a flat surface (tip: the ground will work much better than a table) and lie face down on this spot. Don't fall asleep!
2. Arrange your hands in either a prayer position or with your palms facing down. No matter which hand position you prefer, make sure your elbows are right below your shoulders.
3. Tuck your toes under and lift your body so your weight is now concentrated on your toes and forearms. Keep your abs in tight and squeeze your butt muscles to help keep your body in a straight line (like a plank). Now "all" you have to do is hold this position. If you are doing this for the first time, you probably won't be able to hold your plank for more than 10 seconds. That's OK. Try to work up to one minute. If you have a mirror, use it! Don't let your hips raise up or drop. Keep that straight line!
4. To finish, keep your legs and torso stiff as you lower yourself down. If your back is bothering you during this exercise, consult your doctor before trying it again or see if you can have a certified personal trainer look at your form. Safety first!
5. Repeat a few times and then if you want, you can take that little nap!
Here's a visual of the plank:
Have you tried doing a plank yet? What do you think? How long can you hold your plank (with proper form, of course)?