You know “they” say abs are made in the kitchen? Well that’s definitely true, and tightening the abs is through a healthy and committed exercise plan as well. My favorite ab exercises are planks.
Planks can be held in a variety of forms; front, side, forearms, hands, knees, etc. Not only do planks strengthen your core, they hit a variety of areas when done correctly. Those areas include your arms, back, shoulders and glutes. Planks are also wonderful for spinal stability and core engagement.
You can progress with plank variations by lifting one leg and the opposite arm, and use weights in a side plank to twist the trunk or hold the weights above your head. You need a lot of core stability for that one! Here are 5 plank variations to try out, and they can be done anywhere in the world!
(Please note: keep your core engaged by tucking your pelvis under instead of flaring your back aka duck butt. Don’t round your back or shoulders. Squeeze your glutes for more activation of the core.)
1. High Plank: start lying face down in a push up position. When you press up from the ground, exhale, tuck your pelvis, squeeze your shoulder blades together and squeeze your core and glutes. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Try 3 sets.
2. Forearm plank: start lying face down in a push up position, and instead of pressing your hands into the ground, place your arms at your sides in 90*degree angles. Press up onto the forearms, exhale and keep engagement in the core, glutes, and hamstrings. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute for 3 rounds.
3. Side plank: start in the forearm plank or high plank position, whichever feels more comfortable for your core engagement. While engaging and activating the core, glutes, shoulders and hamstrings, lift your body to one side and either stack your feet on top of one another or bring the same foot as the arm down in front of the other. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and switch sides. Try to do 3 on each side.
4. Spider Man: start in high plank with your core braced, glutes engaged and pelvis tucked. Bring your right leg to your right elbow and back down. Repeat on the left side. Shoot for 12 on each side and repeat 3 sets on each side.
5. Quadruped Hover with Leg Kickback: this one can be very intense! Begin on all fours, and align your hips over our knees and shoulders over your wrists. Tucking your toes under, engage the core, tuck your pelvis and lift both knees off the ground. While staying engaged, kick your left leg back straight pointing your toes and hips to the floor. Do not let the hip hike up to the sky or the lower back. That is key! Return your left leg to meet your right and repeat on the right side. Shoot for 5-8 on each side for 3 sets.
Good luck, and I am here for questions! Don’t forget to go to my Contact page, and sign up to follow my blog posts. You can also find me on Facebook under BMAPP Fitness and Instagram under @bpars1121. I am also affiliated with Thumbtack and Handstand online apps for health and wellness training.
Let’s get moving!