Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Plank

Our core (made up of the abdominal and lower back muscles) is extremely important to strengthen because it is the bridge between our upper body and lower body, it is what gives us stability. A strong core decreases the risk of back injury as well as helps us to move in every day activities…plus, strong abs don’t look too bad either!

The Muscles Worked: Abs and lower back

How to:
  1. Start by lying on the floor or on a mat.
  2. Place your forearms on the floor next to your chest
  3. Push up through your arms so that you are balance on your forearms and toes. Your body should be a straight line from head to toe…do not lift the hips up or let your belly sag down.
  4. Hold the position for as long as you can in good form.

Trainer Tips:

  • It’s important to keep your abs in tight during a plank to get the full benefit of the exercise as well as to protect your lower back.
  • Let your gaze go out a few inches away from your arms so that you keep your neck in neutral alignment.
  • If this is too challenging, simply put your knees down on the mat to help support…but make sure that your hips and abs aren’t sagging or raising up…you should be in a straight line from your head to your knees.

Make 'em Harder: There are so many ways to make the plank harder but one of my favorites is to keep everything very tight and lift one leg off the ground, hold for five seconds and then lift the other leg for five seconds. Alternate between legs until you can’t hold the pose any longer in good form.


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