Written with love, by Jennifer Dene
Last week you learned three variations on the basic squat. Have you been incorporating these moves into your regular fitness routine? I hope so! Today we switch our focus to our arms and core muscles by playing with the full plank.
Planks are fantastic for strengthening your arms, shoulders, abdominals, back and even the legs. They are not easy but they are so worth the effort, in fact I do planks as my main abdominal exercise during most workouts.
A simple way to effectively build your fitness and change the shape of the body is returning to the basic strength training exercises and perfecting them over time. Once upon a time I could hardly hold a 30 second plank and now I’m up to 5 minutes (but it’s ok, I won’t make you do that one just yet).
On the days that I don’t have time for a full workout I will just throw down a couple of planks throughout the day as they elevate my heart rate and tone my body.
How To Do The Basic Plank
Step One: Plant the hands under the shoulders, about as wide as the chest, as though you are about to do a push up. Step the feet back with the toes tucked under so that you are in one long line from head to foot.
Step Two: Squeeze your abs, squeeze your butt and continuously press away from the floor with your arms and legs. Remember the saying: “Light as a feather, stiff as a board”.
Modification: If you notice tension or pain in your low back, drop your knees down into kneeling plank position. This is a great starting exercise.
Forearm Plank Swivels
The forearm plank sculpts beautiful shoulders for your gown. Adding the pivot from the hips increases the abdominal workout, particularly focusing on those waist muscles called obliques.
Staggered Side Plank Lifts
One of my favorite variations is the staggered side plank lift, which focuses on the entire side of the body, including the upper arm, outer thighs and waist. Modifications include doing this on your forearm or keeping a knee down.
Reverse plank targets the triceps more than any other variation (those pesky muscles at the back of the arm) as well as the booty. It also stretches the chest which is amazing for bridal posture, especially if you’ve been hunched over your phone or computer using Pinterest.
I recommend starting with 5 repetitions for each of these new moves and adding on once you feel confident. Press play for the quick video tutorial to see exactly how to do these moves, and then let me know which one is your favorite and why by leaving a comment below!
I can’t wait to workout with you!