Physical workout is as important as a balanced diet for your body. And when it comes to exercises, you cannot ignore the core. Strengthening the core is important as it gives you balance, stability and improves posture along with toning your abs. Planks are arguably the best-known exercise for strengthening the core. It also helps in shedding weight. The cherry on the cake- planks are also known as mood uplifting workout. To do planks you need no equipment, all it takes is some space to stretch out and lots of determination. If you are starting, do remember to consult your physician before trying out these exercises and do the heavy duty workout only under supervision.
- Here is how you do a standard plank. The aim is to keep your body stiff as a surfboard yet light as a feather.
- Get on the floor and strongly plant your hands in line below your shoulders. This position is not unlike a push-up position.
- Now plant your toes into the ground and work your gluteal muscles to build tension through your body. Feel the muscles work from the legs, glutes to your abdomen.
- Relax your neck and back, do not let your head drop down on raise, keep it in line with your back.
- Remember to breathe as you hold this position for 20 seconds and release.
- Repeat 3 times
And just like that you have performed a basic plank. Now we do realize this may become a bit repetitive and boring to do. Worry Not! Read on ahead to find out that there can be variations in plank exercises that combine crunches and leg lifts.
This is an easier variant of the basic plank. Here instead of balancing the body weight on hands, you do it on the entire forearm.
- Lie down on the floor on your stomach.
- Make sure your hands are below your shoulder.
- Rest your forearms on the ground
- Push the floor with your toes and lift your body with your forearms firmly on the ground
- Indulge your abs to lengthen the spine and make sure that your hips are in same line with the shoulders.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat 2 times.
Leg lift plank
Want to challenge yourself? Try this variation in which on point of contact with the floor is removed. And just like that, the core muscles get worked up even more.
- Start with a standard plank position.
- Now lift one leg keeping your posture straight. Take it towards the ceiling without straining the back.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds
- Alternate with the other leg.
- Do this for 14-16 times.
Do this variation in combination with the standard plank. While your core will get strengthened with the basic plank, side planks will engage your oblique muscles.
Also Read: Tips To Tone Your Body Smartly
- Lie on your side and extend both legs so your body is straight.
- Using the hand close to the floor, push your body up as you exhale.
- The other hand can be on the side of the hip or can be stretched up.
- Hold this position for 15- 30 seconds.
- Repeat this for 2 times for both left and right sides.
Side dip planks
This variation is challenging but a must do to engage lateral muscles.
- Start with the side plank position- body to the side and legs stretched out.
- Take a breath in and as you exhale push your body up to a side plank position.
- Now inhale and bring back your pelvis to the floor.
- Repeat it for 16 times on both sides.
This variation is for those who have built their core strength. This one burns calories and increases endurance. This not for the fainthearted and like all exercises, first timers must do this under supervision.
- Set yourself in a normal plank position.
- Pull your one knee up towards your midsection.
- Do the same with the other knee.
- Repeat this alternating movement
- Slowly increase speed
For more results and twist you should include some dance moves at the end of the core exercise and meditation for mental peace. Also complement your core workout with some crunches.
Core workout is necessary for your body even when your fitness goal isn’t weight loss. Complement that with basic diet changes.
- Drink lot of water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Balance your meals by including protein, carbs and vitamins.
- Do not binge on junk food.
- Try to avoid sugar rich foods.
- Exercise daily at the same time.
- Keep your mind and body happy as health comes with happiness.
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