With so many fitness trends at your fingertips, it is sometimes easy to forget about the tried-and-true standards. Fitness pros from LA to NY agree: if you are going to perform just one core exercise, make it a plank. When done correctly, planks activate almost every muscle in your body. Planks challenge your stability, strengthen your muscles – not to mention whittle a lean mean middle! However, improper form can sabotage your plank-tastic efforts by straining your shoulders, compromising your low back, and doing more harm than good. To keep you fit and fabulous, we’ve dissected two variations of the perfect plank top to bottom…and even added a bonus challenge if you’re feeling game. Take it to the core!
- Forearm Plank
Lie on the floor on your stomach. Place your feet about hip's width apart as you tuck your toes and place your forearms on the ground parallel to each other, palms facing down. Tighten your core and look down. Keeping your spine neutral and body straight from the crown of your head to your heels, press back with your heels onto your forearms. Hold for one minute or until you reach fatigue.
- Straight Arm Plank
Performing a plank with straight arms offers less stability than the forearm plank, which creates more of a challenge for the arms, core, chest, and shoulders. Come to the top of a push-up position, elbows straight and feet about hip's width apart. Make sure your back is straight, spin is neutral, and neck relaxed. Place your hands directly below your shoulders and parallel to the ground. Hold for one minute or until fatigue.
- For An Added Challenge...
Push up from forearm plank to straight arm plank, one arm at a time. Lower down and repeat as many sets as you can for one minute!