Planks: The King Of AbsPosted on September 17, 2014 at 8:44 am
A question I get asked more than almost anything, “What is the best ab exercise?” I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…abs are made in the kitchen. Aka, don’t eat crap if you want to see definition in your abs. BUT that doesn’t really answer the question. My all time favorite ab move is…planking!
What? Really? Yep. Planks are amazing. You really get a bang for your buck. They’re a total body strengthening move and you don’t need any equipment or a ton of space.
Tips for a Better Plank:
- Make sure that your shoulders are right over top of your elbows or wrists, depending on what style of plank you’re doing. You don’t want your hands or elbows way out in front of you.
- Don’t clasp your hands together! I see people doing this all the time. Yes, it makes the plank easier, BUT it also takes away from its effectiveness. Let each hand do its own thing, okay?
- Your body should be in a straight line. Which means your back is flat, your butt isn’t up in the air, and your hips aren’t sagging low to the ground.
- Squeeze EVERYTHING tight. That means your abs, your butt, your arms…all of it! If you don’t have your core engaged, you’re basically just hanging out on the floor.
Why Planking is So Powerful:
- I said it once, but it’s a total body move. Planks are going to strengthen your entire core. Y’all hear that word a lot: core. What is your core exactly? It’s more than just your abs. It’s basically everything but your arms and legs. Think of it as a belt that wraps around your whole midsection, including your butt. Planks strengthen your upper body, lower body, and core.
- Planking strengthens the core, which in turn helps relief the oh so popular lower back pain.
- Planking also increases flexibility in posterior (the back side) muscle groups throughout your body.
My Favorite Plank Variations:
- Elbow/forearm planks
- Side planks
- Single leg side planks
- Plank jacks
- Elevated plank steps
Planks are super easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Plus there are so many different ways to do them. Try starting by holding a plank for 30 seconds at a time. Once you feel confident, hold it for 45 seconds. Eventually you will be able to hold it for 1-2 minutes. I like to hold a plank right when I wake up to get my muscles going for the day.